Thameslink and fellow First Impressions partners celebrated forging a station partnership on Friday (27 May) by unveiling new improved bike racks and two station welcome panels. The panels highlight the importance of Elstree Studios and the BBC.
Other improvements, including new seating and planters, are designed to further enhance Elstree & Borehamwood Station as a gateway to the community.
Since May 2008, First Impressions – a multi-agency group made up of the town, borough and county councils, local group Elstree Screen Heritage and Thameslink itself – has used film and TV images in public places to create a more welcoming “First Impression”.
This work started in 2008 as part of the redevelopment of Elstree & Borehamwood train station, a key gateway to the town, and its results can be seen everywhere at the station: centenary banners, the start of a Film and TV Heritage Trail, an iconic wall sculpture, stars in the pavement and new planting are just some of the results which the combined efforts of this group have achieved.
Two weeks ago, working by the side entrance to the station, First Impressions volunteers removed a 10ft tall laurel hedge, which was encroaching on the bus stops and blocking natural light, and eight bags of litter trapped underneath.
Thameslink installed new two-tier bicycle racks with space for 50 more bikes, doing away with opaque Perspex panels that were blocking a clear view of CCTV.
The wall at the side entrance was also stripped back, reclad and repainted to create a fresh canvas for something new and exciting – a welcome wall. Funding was provided by the BBC, town and borough councils to fund two welcome panels that panels celebrate the BBC’s commitment to Elstree and also the joint partnership of First Impressions.
A further planting area has also been created by the side entrance as well as welcoming box topiary to the front entrance of the station. Two new benches and extra “sleeper” seating was installed on Tuesday with the assistance of Thameslink’s Minor Works Team.
The town council and its youth council have also helped in these projects, laying two lorry loads of donated bark chippings to the front perimeter of the car park.
Thameslink Passenger Service Director Stuart Cheshire said: “The new station partnership we’ve signed today further strengthens the partnership Thameslink has with its fellow members of First Impressions and paves the way for even more improvements at the station for the community.
“The space that First Impressions volunteers and Thameslink cleared at the side of the station created room for 50 new bike spaces and two new signs which celebrate our fantastic community partnership.”
Bob Redman of Elstree Screen Heritage said: “Our work here is far from done. In 2018 we’ll celebrate 150 years since the railway reached Elstree & Borehamwood, creating a true gateway and a platform for the town’s prosperity by enabling local film production to begin in 1914.
“We’ve started to prepare for that anniversary, as well as for completion of the Thameslink Programme. And can you imagine the result if the creative talents and energy of First Impressions were unleashed on a new, fit-for-purpose station at this key gateway to our town?”
Mayor of Elstree & Borehamwood Cllr Clive Butchins said: “First Impressions is a wonderful initiative. It is not only commemorates the rich entertainment heritage of our town in a most appropriate manner but also is a way for our town to show this off to visitors and residents alike. It makes the whole place more attractive and interesting.”
Robert Seater, Head of BBC History, and his colleagues Samia Dermourne and Becky Ramsden from BBC Audience Services also attended the ceremony and praised the new panels.
Notes to editors
Elstree Screen Heritage: This group of local volunteers is Chaired by Paul Welsh MBE and local film historian. It is dedicated to raising the profile of the unique film and television heritage of the studios of Elstree & Borehamwood, home to UK film and TV for over one hundred years. For further information please contact