Wind turbines to power Accrington’s new train station have been downsized over fears they would be a blot on the landscape.
A host of changes to plans for the new £2.5 million environmentally-friendly building have been revealed.
These include adding a new educational room where schools and colleges can learn about environmental design in the station’s basement.
Plans to build a new station at the site off Blackburn Road and Eagle Street, with wind turbines, solar panels, and rainwater for the sinks and toilets, were approved last summer.
The scheme would see Accrington station knocked down and rebuilt using state-of-the-art “green” materials with solar panels on the roof to heat water and wind turbines to power lighting.
Originally, planners at Lancashire County Council had considered the option of using 5.5 diameter blades on two large wind turbines sited on the roof of the building to generate more electricity.
Planners have now opted to use just one turbine with smaller propellers – 3.5m in diameter.
Rather than siting it on the roof, it will now be placed on an 11-metre-high free-standing pole, nine metres away from the proposed ticket office.
Lancashire County Council’s report concluded that larger blades “would compromise the visual amenity of the area” in summing up the decision.
“The turbines will help to power 20 six metre high lighting columns which will be dotted throughout the car park.
The ticket office and waiting room will be rebuilt on the other side of the line from the current station, in the west-bound Blackburn direction, making it easier to access Accrington town centre.
The community learning facility proposed for the basement of the building would form a base for the educational use of the building by schools and colleges and would be operated initially by the East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership.
The building mirrors a development at Liverpool South Parkway which last year won the Innovation Award at Network Rail’s annual Environment Awards.
Changes at the site would also include improvements to pedestrian access and the car park.
The current footbridge over the rail line, which is in poor condition, will be rebuilt to allow people coming from the Blackburn direction to head into Accrington town centre quickly and easily.
Parking spaces will be reduced from 58 to 50 spaces but will include improved lighting, disabled parking and ramp access.
The second application will be considered by LCC development control committee today.
If approved, work should begin within the next three years.
Richard Watts, rail project manager for LCC said: “The idea behind the community room was that young people could come in and monitor how the building works.
“We haven’t firmed up the details yet on what it would be used for but the idea behind is it is to allow young people to learn more about good design and eco-technology.”
By Emma Cruces
20 May 2008
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