A GROUP of students are playing their part in plans to breathe new life into a decaying listed building in Timperley University of Bolton students recently presented their renovation designs for the Watling Gate building in Timperley to a panel of building and preservation experts.

The panel consisted of Trafford Conservation officer, Elizabeth Read; Senior surveyor, Paul Adshead; and two members of the Watling Gate Restoration Group, Cllr Jacki Wilkinson and treasurer for the group, Joan Hennessy.

Cllr Wilkinson said: ‘The students have done a fantastic job of developing plans for how Watling Gate could be used once restored.

“It was very heartening to see their genuine enthusiasm for the project and the building itself. I would like to wish all the students every success in their studies and future careers.’ Watling Gate, in Newton Park, is a grade II listed building that has fallen into disrepair over the years.

It was recently made a North West Association of Civic Trust building at risk, for 2014, a move which is hoped will attract funding for the renovations of the building in the near future.

It was built in 1904 in the Arts and Crafts style for a Colonel Newton, who was a prominent figure in the community at the time.

Joe Mayo, one of the second year HNC construction and surveying students, said : “It’s not something I’ve ever done before so it’s refreshing to do something residential and listed. The challenge is trying to appreciate how something was built originally and how we build today. It’s helped introduce and develop me with a whole new skillset.”

University of Bolton senior lecturer in built environment, Clive Robinson, is the chairman of the Watling Gate Restoration group and saw a great opportunity for his students.

He said: ‘Watling Gate has proved to be an excellent resource for students to undertake work connected with all their associated modules and has provided an ideal project which is a real life situation.

“The students came up with some really useful alternative community uses for the building including multi use community centre and a day nursery with café for the public.

“The students who have used their professional skills for a worthwhile community project can also add this activity to their CV when applying for jobs in the industry.”