Detailed plans will now be developed for the scheme, which will be funded jointly through the national stations improvement programme and Community Infrastructure Fund and in partnership with Medway Council, to deliver the following enhancements:
- Extending and refurbishing the station building to provide more space for passengers to circulate and a more pleasant environment.
- Creating a striking, new glass entrance which will allow more natural light into the building
- Upgrading passenger toilets to be accessible to those with reduced mobility and refurbishing the waiting rooms where required
- Installing new cycle storage facilities and CCTV cameras making it more convenient and secure for passengers to ride their bikes to the station
- Refurbishing the roofing to the platfoms and the over-bridge and installing secondary glazing to the high level walkway between the ticket hall and lifts
- Installing new ticket vending machines and ticket gates, creating a new second passenger entrance on Railway Street.
Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, said: “Good rail links are vital for connecting people and businesses. Passengers in Gillingham rely on rail to make 2.3m journeys every year reflecting the importance of the railway to the community and local economy. This major upgrade of Gillingham station will make a big difference to local people, making the railway an easier and more attractive way to travel.”
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “This funding agreement is the latest example of major investment in Gillingham’s future. It will transform the station and the area around it. I’m delighted that this work can now go ahead, and the timing is excellent: the new-look station will be up and running ahead of the London 2012 Olympics for which Gillingham’s Medway Park sports centre will be an athletes’ training base.”
Vince Lucas, Southeastern service delivery director said, “This is good news for passengers who use Gillingham. We are always committed to providing the best service and environment we can and are looking forward to working with our partners to make this happen.”
It is hoped, subject to planning permission being approved, that work will start at the station early in 2011 and will be completed by summer 2011. The work will be delivered by Network Rail.