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It’s now Full Steam Ahead! For the Refurbishment of the Bat & Ball Station Building

Sevenoaks Town Council are delighted to announce that it has secured a £755,600 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant towards the refurbishment of the Bat & Ball Station Building, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

The Bat & Ball Station Building is a Victorian property constructed in 1862. It was the first station in Sevenoaks and used by Queen Victoria when visiting Knole. It has been boarded up since 1991 and gradually deteriorated.

Cllr Roderick Hogarth, Chairman of the Community Infrastructure Committee, said

“The Bat & Ball Station was once and now, with this significant grant from the HLF, will become again a wonderful asset for the community in Sevenoaks, especially the many hundreds of school children who use it daily and the growing number of people who will come to enjoy the facilities it will provide. The HLF grant enables the whole project (total value of investment approximately £1.3m) to move ahead and we look forward to opening this restored, Grade II Listed building in 2018”.

The station building is within the Sevenoaks Town Council’s Northern Sevenoaks Masterplan for the regeneration of the area and complementing a new Bat & Ball Centre to be constructed on the opposite side of the railway and integral to wider development – new leisure, business, and homes.

The station has been identified by the public as an area of concern in relation to personal safety. It is believed that a presence in the building and investment will improve this perception and act as a deterrent.

Thanks to National Lottery players the restored building will provide public toilets, two community rooms, and a café selling Kent produce and heritage information. It will also have the ability to sell train tickets. Currently there is only a ticket machine. All of these facilities should encourage more people to use the station.

Michelle Roffe, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the South East said:

“With its Royal connection as Queen Victoria’s station this is a fascinating part of our industrial heritage that is sure to delight the local community and visitors of all ages once returned to its former glory. We are delighted to support this project to restore the Bat & Ball Station, which thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep.”

Cllr Paul Towell, Chairman of the Friends of Bat and Ball Station said:

“In 2014 the Friends of Bat & Ball Station was created with several key aims to support the regeneration of the Bat & Ball area, highlighting the benefits of the station.  At that time it was thought that the Friends would only be lobbying for improvements of the station. It became clear however over time that there was an opportunity for the Town Council to take over the building and refurbish it.  I would like to thank everyone who has made this stage successful and look forward to 2018 when the restored building will be opened”.

Sevenoaks Town Council wishes to publically thank the following for their support and assistance in developing the grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund – Members of Friends of Bat & Ball Station, Southeastern, Network Rail, Sir Michael Fallon, MP, The Project Team, Warners Solicitors, F M Conway, Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association and Knole Academy.

Mayor of Sevenoaks, Cllr Maxine Chakowa said:

“As Mayor of Sevenoaks I was pleased to be involved in the grant process. I know how much effort and commitment has been made to get to this stage. I congratulate the Chief Executive, her team and everyone else who has worked on this. When we start on the refurbishment project in 2018 there will be lots of opportunities for community involvement particularly in research and artistic elements. I hope this will be well supported. This is a wonderful project for Sevenoaks, particularly Northern Ward and will benefit people now and for many generations to come.”

The project is on track to be completed in September 2018.

Linda Larter MBE Chief Executive / Town Clerk

Notes to editors

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

About Sevenoaks Town Council

Sevenoaks Town Council is a statutory local council operating for the benefits of residents in Sevenoaks parish. The Town Council has 16 elected members who are volunteers, one of whom is elected to the role of Mayor each year. There is a small team of paid staff under the responsibility of Linda Larter MBE, Chief Executive / Town Clerk. The Town Council provides many community facilities ranging from open spaces, community buildings, local buses, markets, cemetery, allotments, youth provision etc. In 2008 it took over the Stag Theatre and Cinema and has since created an independent charity with the result of having a thriving cultural facility in the town.

Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Linda Larter at townclerk@sevenoakstown.gov.uk .