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Art Station no longer part of Saxmundham railway station

PUBLISHED: 07:30 07 November 2018

Firefighters tackling a blaze at Saxmundham railway station earlier this year Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Firefighters tackling a blaze at Saxmundham railway station earlier this year Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A project to bring community art to an east Suffolk railway station will no longer go ahead.

The Art Station group had hoped to transform Saxmundham station before it was hit by fire earlier this year.

The group had hoped to transform it into a centre featuring a waiting area for passengers, contemporary art exhibition promoting high quality art and artists, art education programme, garden café, and volunteering and training opportunities for under-represented groups.

In 2017 the Art Station signed a short-term lease with Greater Anglia.

Award-winning artist Emily Godden created the station’s first installation, a virtual reality installation in the station’s waiting room.

After the station was hit by fire in February the group said that they hoped to work with Greater Anglia through the buildings restoration.

On Friday a meeting was held between local officials and Greater Anglia in which the rail operator laid out its plans to restore the station as a one storey building.

Yesterday Greater Anglia confirmed that the Art Station would no longer be housed there.

A spokesman for the Art Station said they were disappointed with the outcome.

“Since the fire at Saxmundham station in February 2018, The Art Station has been lobbying Greater Anglia about the future of the station building, and liaised with SCDC and Saxmundham Town Council but no progress was made on a commitment to re-building or connecting with The Art Station project,” they said.

“Although we are very disappointed that the station won’t become a creative hub as we hoped and planned, we are relieved that it will not be demolished.”

In the meantime, The Art Station is close to securing alternative space in central Saxmundham to develop a creative hub for artists, makers and tech developers a new creative workspace for artists, makers and tech developers, with exhibition space and community arts education programmes.

A spokesman for Greater Anglia confirmed that the project would no longer go ahead but refused to comment further.

Building work at the station is expected to start before the end of March next year.

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