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Shire of Narrogin councillors vote to adopt key heritage railway precinct plan

The Shire of Narrogin’s railway precinct concept plan was given the green light at last month’s council meeting as restoration works on the historic station near completion.

The Narrogin Heritage Railway Precinct Concept Plan was prepared and submitted by the Office of Regional Architecture — a Brookton-based business — and directed to the Shire’s Townscape Advisory Committee.

The draft plan was then advertised for public comment, attracting a letter of support from Arts Narrogin, and a letter of recommendation from Ken McDougall which included proposals such as building greenhouses and creating a cafe and community space.

The advisory committee met again in February to discuss the submissions and recommended that council adopt the concept plan with no changes.

Councillors voted to adopt the plan and write to the people who submitted to thank them for their contributions at their March 23 council meeting.

Under the plan, the redevelopment would be split into three precincts connected by an informative heritage walk trail to complement the existing CBD and Gnarojin Park trails.

The first precinct would encompass the railway station — which is planned to house the town’s visitor centre — the possible reinstatement of a signal box and the pedestrian overpass from Gnarojin Park across Pioneer Drive.

The second precinct would include plans for the redevelopment of the Goods Shed and a future museum or art gallery, free RV parking and one of two possible locations for a railway playground.

The plan draws inspiration from the redeveloped Goods Shed in the Claremont Railway Station precinct, as well as the Hobart Goods Shed and Red Square venue in Tasmania.

The third precinct would include the redevelopment of Mackie Park, another option for the railway playground and future opportunities with the Hordern Hotel.

The adoption of the concept plan comes as the restoration of the train station is about 90 per cent completed with works expected to be finished before the end of June, according to Shire president Leigh Ballard.

“We’ve approved the plan that’s been put forward so now we can actually sit down and break this down and also find out what grants are available,” Mr Ballard said.

“Now we’ve got a generalised plan we’d like to see put forward, it’s now up to which parts we are going to bite off first and start working through.

“We’ve now go the railway station progressing and it will hopefully be finished soon.

“Then it’s a matter of working around the peripheral of that and working out how to bring everything else up to standard.”

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