COMMUNITY minded volunteers have outlined a vision to restore a derelict station house to its former glory and create a social hub that will provide “something for everyone”.

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The building, next to Wickham Market Station in Campsea Ashe, has not been used for seven years, when it was bought by the county council to enable access to rebuild a road bridge over the railway.

A group of villagers have now joined forces to form an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) for the benefit of the community (Bencom) to safeguard the future of the historic house.

Members have outlined a raft of proposals to transform the building, which dates from 1859.

The plans include creating a local area information resource - promoting amenities, events and support networks along with the work of local heritage and environmental groups. It is also hoped to provide an improved rail passenger service with better ticket and waiting room facilities, a café, local map and book shop, rooms for hire for businesses and community groups, wi-fi and broadband access and an interactive exhibition on the history of the East Suffolk Railway Line.

Rosamund Webb, who is one of those spearheading the bid, said: “It is a very exciting project. The Station House is in a great location on the B1078 and attracts railway users from a wide catchment.

“It has been derelict for some time and I think there has always been a question at the back of people’s minds around ‘what can we do with it?’ The plans have taken a year to research and match local community needs - not just those of Campsea Ashe but also those of the wider rural area. They offer something for everyone.”

A target of £520,000 is needed to fund the proposed scheme, which goes on show to members of the public at the Station House between 10.30am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. Mrs Webb added: “It is a considerable challenge but we hope the target can be achieved through local support and further grants. We have already raised £62,000 since November.

“The feedback we have had so far has been very encouraging but we would invite anyone who is interested in finding out more to visit over the weekend.

“A lot of people don’t know what the house looks like inside so it is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of its past as well as be among the first to see our hopes for the future.”

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