THIS IS the first glimpse at how Longridge's Old Station Buildings will look after a £500,000 transformation.

Building work to turn the disused railway station into a heritage centre will begin in November, two months ahead of schedule.

The project to convert the building in Berry Lane has been ongoing for around seven years.

Now the work to transform the derelict site into a vibrant community area including a heritage themed cafe, a town archive, meeting rooms and exhibition space, will be carried out by local company, Walter Carefoot and Sons.

It is due to be completed by Easter next year.

Richard Kirkby, of Lancashire County Council’s environmental projects team, said: “We are looking forward to the job starting as it has taken a very long time to get to this stage.

“The building will be a very valuable addition to the town.”

In recent months, building work on the site was delayed after a survey revealed a gas mains pipe which needed to be relocated.

Longridge with Bowland ward councillor David Smith, said the renovation work of the historic building was long overdue.

He said: “This is a good result for the many people who have worked very hard to make this project a reality.

“The designs are very appropriate and in keeping with the town and when the whole project is completed it will be an invaluable education resource.”

The funding package include’s two part-time heritage officers to develop the project and to work with the community over the first three years.

Cash for the project has come from 12 different sources, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Ribble Valley Borough Council, and Longridge and District Local History Society.

Stuart Carefoot, director at Walter Carefoot and Sons building firm, said: “We are very proud to be working yet again for our local community and we hope the new building will create a focal point for the people of Longridge.”

On completion the building will be operated by the Longridge Social Enterprise Company which manages the Civic Hall.

The railway came to the town in 1840 to meet the great demand for Longridge Fell stone Tracks linked it to villages such as Grimsargh and ultimately Preston.

However, by the mid 20th Century the road network had taken over from the railway and in 1967 the last freight train rumbled along the line.

The tracks were ripped up in 1968 and it has stood mainly derelict apart from being the home of the town council.