All systems go for Thorpe Bay tram shelter to get new life

Southend Standard: Campaigners Bob Craven, Mike Stafford and Elspeth Jones. Campaigners Bob Craven, Mike Stafford and Elspeth Jones.

A DRIVE to turn a derelict seafront tram shelter into a space for disabled and community groups has taken a huge step forward.

Southend Council and the Tram Stop Project have agreed a lease for the building on Thorpe Esplanade, by the junction of Thorpe Hall Avenue.

Retired policeman Bob Craven, 66, came up with the idea to convert the space more than 18 years ago, and has been working towards giving it a new life ever since.

His vision is to make the site a seafront space where groups, including disabled day-trippers, can meet and take shelter from the elements.

Dozens of volunteers have helped come up with viable plans to take over the site and more than 70 community groups have said they will use it.

As part of the deal with Southend Council, the project will also take responsibility for maintaining the public toilets below ground level.

Mr Craven, of Marcus Chase, Thorpe Bay, said: “So many in our community have stepped up to the plate.

“It is a wonderful experience to meet so many kind people. We are not complacent.

"The hard work is not over.”

He said that surveys show that damage to the building means that much of it needs refurbishment, including the toilets.

He said: “These toilets are essential to the users of the Tram Stop Shelter and our seafront community, so our trustees have agreed to take these over.

“Fortunately, the outer walls and foundations of the lower building are solid and will last another 100 years.

The group is still trying to raise thousands of pounds towards paying for the refurbishments of the toilets and the rest of the building itself, and the contract on the shelter is yet to be signed.

The last tram stopped at the site in July 1938, after trams had been overtaken by buses as the preferred method of transport.

It was used as a changing room for bathers afterwards, but has been derelict for about 40 years.

Comments (9)

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10:58am Sat 22 Mar 14

Saxonpride says...

Well done! I'm glad it'll be getting put to some use.
Now, what we need are the trams to actually return. I can't help but wonder what damned fool got rid of them in the first place, they would add so much to our seafront and be a useful visual tool in encouraging tourism.
Well done! I'm glad it'll be getting put to some use. Now, what we need are the trams to actually return. I can't help but wonder what damned fool got rid of them in the first place, they would add so much to our seafront and be a useful visual tool in encouraging tourism. Saxonpride
  • Score: 5

11:25am Sat 22 Mar 14

abd123 says...

Trams need to be part of an integrated transport system to be cost effective. Building them for tourists along the seafront would be prohibitively expensive. Edinburgh is building one not many miles long and it has cost over half a billion pounds (yes billion). I think you can forget trams here.
Trams need to be part of an integrated transport system to be cost effective. Building them for tourists along the seafront would be prohibitively expensive. Edinburgh is building one not many miles long and it has cost over half a billion pounds (yes billion). I think you can forget trams here. abd123
  • Score: -4

12:30pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Southend Andy says...

It would be nice if they could have a static tram
It would be nice if they could have a static tram Southend Andy
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Sat 22 Mar 14

TheaWells says...

Hey ECHO!!!! wooohoooo!! *waves*

Why not start up a DIY SOS type of campaign?

get together with Mr Craven and his committee and organise a week in the future and call it "Tram Stop SOS week" (original I know!) and then give a page 3 space to the cause to find builders, electricians, suppliers, decorators, plumbers, burger vans etc etc to give up their time and supplies that week to do a mass 'extreme make-over' and get this chaps dream to come true!

Fantastic advertising op for all involved and a great community project!

Come on!... it's not like you can't spare half page 3 every other day... :-)

oh and I have nothing to do with Mr Craven and I don't live anywhere near there.. I just think it's a fab idea and could help boost business for local companies with the free advertisement...
Hey ECHO!!!! wooohoooo!! *waves* Why not start up a DIY SOS type of campaign? get together with Mr Craven and his committee and organise a week in the future and call it "Tram Stop SOS week" (original I know!) and then give a page 3 space to the cause to find builders, electricians, suppliers, decorators, plumbers, burger vans etc etc to give up their time and supplies that week to do a mass 'extreme make-over' and get this chaps dream to come true! Fantastic advertising op for all involved and a great community project! Come on!... it's not like you can't spare half page 3 every other day... :-) oh and I have nothing to do with Mr Craven and I don't live anywhere near there.. I just think it's a fab idea and could help boost business for local companies with the free advertisement... TheaWells
  • Score: 4

1:24pm Sat 22 Mar 14

TheaWells says...

abd123 wrote:
Trams need to be part of an integrated transport system to be cost effective. Building them for tourists along the seafront would be prohibitively expensive. Edinburgh is building one not many miles long and it has cost over half a billion pounds (yes billion). I think you can forget trams here.
You misunderstood my lovely... they don't want a Tram per se... just the old building to convert for use by the community :-)
[quote][p][bold]abd123[/bold] wrote: Trams need to be part of an integrated transport system to be cost effective. Building them for tourists along the seafront would be prohibitively expensive. Edinburgh is building one not many miles long and it has cost over half a billion pounds (yes billion). I think you can forget trams here.[/p][/quote]You misunderstood my lovely... they don't want a Tram per se... just the old building to convert for use by the community :-) TheaWells
  • Score: 0

2:43pm Sat 22 Mar 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Will they be putting in some windows, for the sea views ?
Will they be putting in some windows, for the sea views ? carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 1

3:41pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Loosers says...

The old Tram Stop is indeed an eyesore. That area is a very busy junction that can be difficult to cross for able-bodied individuals. It's a disaster waiting to happen if physically challenged people do in fact try to make use of the proposed re-vamped building. A more suitable location for this well meaning initiative should be found. The existing structure should be torn down and made into a viewing point like the one further along the Esplanade (direction Southend).
The old Tram Stop is indeed an eyesore. That area is a very busy junction that can be difficult to cross for able-bodied individuals. It's a disaster waiting to happen if physically challenged people do in fact try to make use of the proposed re-vamped building. A more suitable location for this well meaning initiative should be found. The existing structure should be torn down and made into a viewing point like the one further along the Esplanade (direction Southend). Loosers
  • Score: -2

7:36pm Sat 22 Mar 14

SARFENDMAN says...

Brilliant great news. Isn't it good to see one of Southend's unsung Heritage Buildings being put to good use.
Amazing it's survived, so many others have sadly been less fortunate. Look forward to seeing it thrive in it's new role.
Brilliant great news. Isn't it good to see one of Southend's unsung Heritage Buildings being put to good use. Amazing it's survived, so many others have sadly been less fortunate. Look forward to seeing it thrive in it's new role. SARFENDMAN
  • Score: 2

9:30am Mon 24 Mar 14

DannyK86 says...

Saxonpride wrote:
Well done! I'm glad it'll be getting put to some use.
Now, what we need are the trams to actually return. I can't help but wonder what damned fool got rid of them in the first place, they would add so much to our seafront and be a useful visual tool in encouraging tourism.
Blackpool kept their trams, and now have both vintage and modern ones going along the seafront. Shame Southend never did the same.
[quote][p][bold]Saxonpride[/bold] wrote: Well done! I'm glad it'll be getting put to some use. Now, what we need are the trams to actually return. I can't help but wonder what damned fool got rid of them in the first place, they would add so much to our seafront and be a useful visual tool in encouraging tourism.[/p][/quote]Blackpool kept their trams, and now have both vintage and modern ones going along the seafront. Shame Southend never did the same. DannyK86
  • Score: 0

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