Community hub at Campsea Ashe station on East Suffolk line could open in spring
PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 February 2017
Huge strides are being made to convert a Victorian station building into a community hub to serve 11 villages.
The £300,000 project to restore and refurbish the disused station house in Campsea Ashe on the East Suffolk Line is well under way – and groups, businesses and passengers could be using it this spring.
The work will provide villagers in the area with a place to meet, eat and drink; fast broadband; real-time train information; toilets; and a touchscreen exhibition of the history of the East Suffolk Railway to re-engage people with the area’s ‘lost’ railway history and heritage.
There will also be meeting rooms for social, business and community networking – including an events room accommodating up to 16 people, meeting room for up to eight, training room with individual workstations for up to seven, and a consulting room and waiting room for one-to-one meetings.
Restoration work includes a new canopy over the platform and the reinstatement of 30 decorative lions along new traditional cast iron guttering, once a feature of all the station houses on the line between Melton and Halesworth.
Fundraising for the work began in 2012 with major grants and support from The Big Lottery Fund, county and district councils, and the Railway Heritage Trust, among others, plus 14 further national and local grants, private donations and fundraising.
“It really has been the work of many rather than just a few and the support of our funders has been tremendous,” said Robert Webb, chairman of Station House Community Connections.
“An incredible amount of goodwill has kept the campaign going and the enthusiasm of volunteers and society members from near and far has inspired and motivated the campaign.”
Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for economic development at Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “It’s positive to see how this once disused building has been transformed with such great support by the community.
“We were pleased to support this project because local people have worked hard to ensure this building maintains its importance at the station.
“We hope that with this community focus the building will remain an integral part of the station for years to come.”