Banbury train station mural to go under coffee shop plans

Mural at Banbury station The mural overlooks the main station concourse

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Campaigners have criticised plans to move or cover up a mural at an Oxfordshire train station to make way for a coffee shop.

The artwork in Banbury station was painted to mark the 150th anniversary of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's broad gauge railway.

Chiltern Railways wants to put a new Costa Coffee shop in place as part of a redevelopment of the concourse.

Banbury Civic Society said it should stay as it was a gift to the town.

The mural by artist Nigel Fletcher was commissioned by Railtrack in 2001.

Chad Collins, of Chiltern Railways, said: "The station has seen a huge increase in passenger numbers and yet the facilities have not been improved to match that.

'Awareness of heritage'

"I understand the sentimental aspect but we are looking to make improvements to the station which will benefit the town.

"We have always said that we will either protect the mural or donate it to an organisation that are able to preserve it."

Rob Kinchin-Smith, of the Banbury Civic Society, said the rail company's decision lacked an "awareness of heritage".

"It's special because it was presented as a gift to the town. It was painted by the artist to fit this location.

"It presents a gateway to the historic town of Banbury, commemorating railway history."

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