A Danger to the General Public

interior of a derelict Goodwick Station building

neglected

“It has been disused for a considerable number of years and the elements have taken their toll. It is not in a condition to be repaired and is now a danger to the general public.” With these words, Pembrokeshire CC’s Deputy Leader Jamie Adams has now sealed the fate of Goodwick’s historic station.

When workmen arrive soon at the town’s station, it won’t be to open the new station everyone’s calling for, but to demolish the old one.

Opened on August 1st 1899, the station will fall just before its 112th birthday. We’re losing a distinctive part of our history (and a key part of Goodwick’s Conservation Area). Now we’re awaiting the feasibility report into reopening to know whether this is the end of the line for a town centre rail service, or a sign of better things to come.

Fishguard Trains says – if they’re worried about the public danger from a historic station whose owners let it decay, we hope they’re even more concerned about the threat to a new rail service that lacks a proper terminus.

11 Comments

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11 Responses to A Danger to the General Public

  1. Rhydgaled

    If it’s a danger to the public now it has been for some time, why rush to demolish it before they have decided what to do? There is one intact wall (facing the platform) and the chmyney stack, both of which look alright to me and I think they should be kept and incorporated into the new building. Surely the conservation area is enough of a reason to keep these two remaining sections.

  2. Swansea Jack

    I’d love to see the old building restored, but realistically it should go to a museum or preserved railway line. Scolton Manor would have been ideal – especially as they already have Margaret there, the old building would fit in well. Doesn’t seem as if they’re interested though, unfortunately!

    I cannot see from where money would be available to restore a structure that isn’t needed for a re-opened station. Milford, Pembroke, Whitland, Kidwelly, Clarby road etc etc don’t have quaint old buildings with waiting rooms any more, I cannot see that Goodwick would be any different.

    Shame though – I grew up looking at that building. Come on Scotlon Manor – wake up before it’s too late!!

    • Rhydgaled

      Milford, Pembroke and Whitland are all important enough to warrant waiting rooms though in my opinion, as is Fishguard & Goodwick. Whitland partly because it could be used for interchange between the west Wales lines and Milford, Fishguard & Goodwick Pembroke solely because of the size and importance of the towns served. Sadly only Whitland has a building that could be used at present, although Fishguard & Goodwick has a third of a building.

  3. Rhydgaled

    Some questions:
    Does anyone think we can get the main building at Fishguard & Goodwick listed? We will need verification of the building’s history. In particular it would be interesting to know whether it is a GWR design or if the NP&FR had started building it before the GWR took over.

    Minor station architecture has almost disapeared from the national rail network, particularly wooden buildings. I wonder, is Fishguard & Goodwick’s building in fact now the sole remaining example of this design?

    I am wondering if we have enough time to start a petition to stop the demolision. Perhaps Sam Faulks, who started this whole thing, would be willing to help, perhaps gaining the assistance of the shops who displayed the petition for extra trains (I’m not sure if I’d know about all this if I hadn’t seen his petition in the Wool Shop cafe, Fishguard). If we do an online petition as well, we need a memorable URL, perhaps fishguardtrains.info/savethestation/petition could contain a redirect to an online petition or somthing. Anything else you can think of to do SPAD?

    • Swansea Jack

      Well if you wish to delay the rather necessary re-opening of Goodwick station you could go down that line. I’d suggest the best approach would be to get Scolton manor to do the right thing and set it dismantled for re-erection there.

      • Spad

        Spad’s heart is with Rhydgaled, but his head is with Swansea Jack. We can’t afford to let any agenda get in the way of the earliest reopening of Fishguard & Goodwick Station. That would have been the attitude of the railway pioneers who opened up North Pembrokeshire to the world a century ago, and that must be our attitude today.
        The idea of Listing is interesting, but even that would not prevent its legal demolition – the Planners would have to tick more boxes, but they’d find a way. It wouldn’t be the first listed building to be legally destroyed.
        That said, the crumbling station building is a vivid part of our heritage, and deserves a better fate than demolition. It’s owners should be held to account for the neglect that has led to its ruin, and should fund the rebuilding of it at an appropriate place – and Scolton seems ideal.
        Next time you’re in London, make sure you visit the superbly restored St Pancras – an international terminus and magnificent new railway hotel, all within the restored framework of two great pieces of railway heritage. That is what is possible with vision and motivation. Sadly, not enough of us loved Goodwick Station enough, until it was too late.

      • Rhydgaled

        I think Spad got it back on June 5th:
        “the best way for the planning authority to preserve and enhance this part of the Conservation Area is to restore the buildings to their original purpose. That can’t happen by September. But what can happen is “a bus shelter type affair” along the platform, PLUS security fencing around the building, PLUS an architectural rescue plan for the old buildings.” Not only is keeping what remains of the structure where it is the best way to preserve and enhance the conservation area but I also believe it is the best way to get the full benefit of re-opening the station as far as attracting passengers is concerned.

        I appreciate your concern that trying to save the building could delay the opening of the station, but the quote from Spad includes the solution to this, security fencing around the building. With this in place, I can’t see any reason why keeping the building doesn’t mean we can’t stop trains further along the platform before the building is opened to the public.

        I’m planning to set up an on-line petition and submit an article to the local papers with a link to the petition. Would the webmasters mind setting up a page, something like fishguardtrains.info/savethestation which redirects to my petition if I can get one set up today (Sunday)?

  4. Swansea Jack

    The thing is Rhydgaled, much as I’d love to see the old building back in use on the platform, the modern railway doesn’t require buildings like that now, and hasn’t done so for the best part of 40 years or more. To restore the building in-situ would require a great deal of money and for what purpose – we’d be back to trying to find a use for it, and someone willing to pay good money for its use. Remember the building did find uses through many years after 1982 when it lost any function for BR, but was not able to sustain that use which is why it is in its present condition.

    The major target of this forum would be to get Scolton Manor to do the right thing and try to save what’s left of the structure to complete the Museum’s display around Margaret etc. The signal box there is from Sarnau (near Bancyfelin, Carmarthenshire) if I remember correctly, whereas Goodwick station building is a Pembrokeshire structure of far more historical significance.

    The need to get Goodwick station reopened is of critical importance to the success of the new train service, even the much loved old building at Goodwick cannot delay that, or else in 3 years time we will have far bigger issues to worry about.

  5. Rhydgaled

    What uses did the building find after 1982? That’s news to me.

    You say “the modern railway doesn’t require buildings like that now”, I disagree. There is a National Stations Improvement Program, started because passenger satisfaction figures where lower for stations than other aspects of the railway. My opinion is that passengers want waiting rooms and toilets, not huge metal lettering written backwards in a glass frontage (that’s what is proposed as the Aberystwyth element of the NSIP). I spent many hours in total waiting in Aberystwyth station for buses last winter and would have really appreciated a waiting room, I’m sure rail passengers would have too.

    Re-opening Fishguard & Goodwick would contribute an even greater benefit to our rail service if it was re-opened with said facilities housed in the original building than if it was opened without them. My opinion therefore is that is what we should press for, with the proviso that at least a shelter-less station can be opened (with the building fenced off until it can be opened) the day the extra trains start (or by the time a shelter-less station could be opened with the original building moved to Scotlon if that date is later).

    As for cost, if you move it to Scotlon you have the cost of doing that. Once you get it to Scotlon, most of the restoration costs would still apply (the only savings would be from not having to install toilets and (if you have it, which you might not) heating).

  6. Swansea Jack

    Have you been near the building recently – it is in a very poor condition, and looks to me to be unsaveable in its present location. Much as we might want to have nice warm waiting rooms on stations it is not going to happen – if Aberystwyth cannot justify one then Goodwick certainly cannot. The only possible use would be for a taxi office and a portakabin would do a better job, but are any taxi firms in Fishguard going to be looking for an office – most work out from home anyway!

    The old building found a use with BR until September 1981 with the Motorail traffic, from then until May 1983 you had the manned signalbox opposite it. It was then used for a time for storage of antiques or similar, but I would estimate it has been out of use for over 12 years now. The back wall has collapsed as seen on the picture above, the roof is effectively holding itself up – it is unlikely to survive another snowfall or strong wind episode.

    I’d really like to see the building saved for posterity, but practically speaking there is absolutely no need for it on a reopened station. With the present economic situation it is an uphill battle to get enough funding to sort out a simple 2 coach platform with a shelter, as well as to do something to clear the vegetation in the yard to get a car park there, anything over this is unaffordable, and if we push for it we will end up with nothing! Getting Goodwick station open so we can catch a train from there is what we need, no more, no less!

    • Spad

      Whatever you think about retaining/restoring/replacing Goodwick Station buildings, one organisation holds most of the cards – Pembrokeshire County Council.

      They can decide to restore it, allow or prevent its demolition, turn it to rubble, rebuild it lovingly at Scolton … you name it. So it’s interesting to see Pembrokeshire CC’s own policy on demolition of buildings in Conservation Areas – see the new post Policy 80.

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