Whaley Bridge is buzzing.   In a spurt of activity giving 2012 a flying start, two prime retail sites near the Mechanics’ Institute have been let, and  work is going on or about to start on a number of projects that will improve life for most of the community.

The former Arcaz antique shop let to Blythe House

The railway station: Contractor Story’s heavy gear is filling part of the car park as work takes place through the night to raise the height of the platform  where passengers board Buxton bound trains.

Heavy equipment from Story the contractor in the railway car park

For years, there has been a problem with a dangerously wide gap between platform and train.  Now, after pressure from Whaley Bridge Town Council and Friends of Whaley Bridge Station,  we are going to have a station for the 21st century.

Mind the gap! The Buxton bound Platform 1 being worked on

The station entrance has been refurbished, with smart new signage, which helped to bring a nationally recognised award.  A ‘highly commended’ certificate at the National Railway Heritage Awards recognised community involvement.  Still to come is a redesign of the car park, with the path relocated to the side, creating more parking spaces.

The smart new entrance and sign at Whaley Bridge station

The sports area off Macclesfield Road:  Upgrading of the multi-use games area (‘MUGA’), including a new artificial grass area, will provide a state of the art surface to 3G Grass standard from April.   Sports such as hockey and football are already played at the site.  The upgrading will encourage other players to develop their sport.  The sports pavilion at the site is also to get a facelift, with internal redecoration carried out by students from Stockport College as part of their course studies.  The paint is being supplied by the town council, and organised through the regeneration forum Whaley4wards.

Memorial Park: £53.000 of Lottery funding has given youngsters’ sport a boost. Work is in  progress on the  BMX track and skate park, near the football pitches. There will be a brand new ‘pump track’ for the BMX fans, and new skate park ramps, designed in consultation with the youngsters.  In the main part of Memorial Park, the biggest project of the year will bring new play equipment, landscaping, a sculpture trail and a new footbridge, as well as refurbishment for the iconic cenotaph.  The borough council, which runs the park, was awarded £478,000 of Lottery funding, with an additional £10,000 from the town council.

BMX demonstration at last year's Water Weekend

If only Whaley Bridge could get funding to revamp the empty Transhipment Warehouse at the canal basin, and build a second bridge to the industrial estate!  See the picture below of an almost daily problem as huge vehicles negotiate their way in or out of Canal Street, on their way to Bingswood Avenue Industrial Estate.

An every day sight: another heavy vehicle blocks the main road