HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds worth of improvements to Padgate Station are being planned.

The Friends of Padgate Station was set up in March as a sub-group of the Longbarn Residents Association, and has already managed to have the station repainted and have loud speakers installed for announcements.

But more work is planned, with the group hoping to secure grants of up to £200,000 to regenerate the station.

Group chairman Bob McLaughlin said: “Lots of people were coming to the Longbarn Residents Association meeting complaining about the state of the station – as a first introduction to the place for people from elsewhere it was an absolute disgrace.

“We included it in our litter pick rounds and every six weeks we fill about 20 bags of rubbish from around the area.

“Then we got on to Network Rail and mithered them and they agreed to paint the station and put loud speakers and electronic signposts on it.

“It’s 100 per cent cleaner than when we first started and we’re becoming quite proud of it – with a bit of luck we will be able to turn it into a nice community asset.”

Improvements have been inspired by a recent £2m revamp of Irlam Station and could see a new café or shop opened at the station in addition to a bigger car park at the incorporation of the history of Padgate RAF camp.

The Friends of Padgate Station is also looking into becoming a registered charity in order to open up additional funding streams.

Longbarn resident Bob added: “A trust took over Irlam Station and now it is absolutely fantastic – they spent nearly £2m on it and included rooms for the historic society and a restaurant, bar and café.

“The station’s blanked off windows have been painted on like a ticket office and a waiting room.

“We thought it would be wonderful if we could do something like that in the long-term as at the moment it is empty apart from the chipper.

“The station has a footfall on 127,000 a year which has gone up 223 per cent in the last 10 years, so it’s not insignificant.”