Pass the parcel

050799a b18 18/2 ns'Scenesetter'The old parcel offices at Scarborough railway Station.
050799a b18 18/2 ns'Scenesetter'The old parcel offices at Scarborough railway Station.

MOVES to restore a former Victorian parcels office in Scarborough Railway Station and turn it into studios for artists are set to be brought back under the microscope.

The plans, which were first mooted in 2007, could potentially create a mini cultural quarter at the top of the town centre because the studios would be opposite the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Scarborough Studio Group was given a £9,690 grant from Arts Council England to carry out a feasibility study into bringing the old buildings back to life.

It is mainly made up of local artists and they see the grade II listed building as a fine example of Victorian railway architecture and wonderful space.

Peter Cooper, secretary of Scarborough Studios, is applying to renew planning permission for the scheme, which was granted by Scarborough Council in 2009.

Mr Cooper said: “The current planning permission for our proposed project at the old parcels office expires in April this year. We do not expect to be on site before June 2012 so please find enclosed an application to renew the planning permission.”

The proposal is to convert the building to provide studios for both individuals and groups of artists up to a maximum of about 20 along with basic administrative and toilet facilities.

Educational facilities could include a mentoring programme for young painters and master classes for professional artists.

In 2008 the group received an extra cash boost from the Arts Council to continue with the next stage of the feasibility study into bringing the building back to life. An architect who surveyed the building found that the roof would need to be replaced.

The Railway Heritage Trust agreed to contribute £150,000 towards the roof renovation and Network Rail is also willing to provide a 25-year lease for the building.

The building was the excursions office first with a booking office and waiting room and then became the parcels office.

The parcels office was looked after by Eric Johnson, who was a railway employee for most of his working life and a telegraph clerk until he transferred to the office.

When the parcels office closed, it was moved into the main building of the station.

The office wasn’t used until 1994 but was later used by Jarvis, the rail contractor.