North Derbyshire attraction Barrow Hill Roundhouse on track for Lottery cash

Alexa Stott, Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre marketing manager, inside the centre. Picture: Brian Eyre.
Alexa Stott, Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre marketing manager, inside the centre. Picture: Brian Eyre.
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Bosses at a North Derbyshire attraction are hoping to secure a six-figure sum to transform the site for future visitors.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre, near Staveley, has successfully got through the first stage of a bid for £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Alexa Stott, marketing manager, said: “It says a lot for our team that we got past the first round of the HLF bid at our first attempt.

“To unlock the £100,000 of funding, we will have to make a further financial contribution towards the centre ourselves and show we can raise further funds as well.

“Throughout 2015 we’re working with architects, conservation experts and activity planners to develop the second stage of our bid for the grant which will help us press ahead with our plans.”

Judges from the fund are said to have been impressed with the centre’s development, as well as its number of diverse events, attractions and commercial roles alongside its ambitious plans for the future.

Rail enthusiast Merv Allcock, who set up the Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society more than 25 years ago to save the building, said: “My goal is to expand what we have and get the HLF grant and take the Roundhouse into a new era with corporate events and more commercial use and keep a link with the modern railway system.

“This way we will be in a great shape to move into the next 50 years, so the roundhouse will become established as a national treasure.”

As well as being a mecca for rail enthusiasts as the last surviving roundhouse turntable in the UK, it attracts thousands of revellers to its annual Rail Ale Festival, while last year saw it host its first concert when pianist Jools Holland brought his big band to perform to great acclaim.

Alexa said: “We need to expand our audience and there are plans for a new café, guided tours and meeting facilities with a commercial side.

“We’re developing with old and modern railway stock, doing carriage overhauls and providing training for youngsters who work on the railways.”

The centre submitted its HLF application in September, before hearing in December that it had made it through to the second stage – a final decision is expected next year.

Planned 2015 events so far include a Rarities Diesel Gala featuring unusual diesel locomotives on site on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, and the annual Rail Ale Festival from Thursday to Saturday, May 14-16.

Another concert is also being lined up.