More time needed to discuss rail plan

PEOPLE living in the Southwold area have been given more time to have their say on an ambitious £6.5 million plan to recreate the historic rail link to Halesworth.

PEOPLE living in the Southwold area have been given more time to have their say on an ambitious £6.5 million plan to recreate the historic rail link to Halesworth.

The original narrow gauge railway operated between the two north Suffolk towns from 1879 to 1929 and Southwold Railway Society hope that the link will be restored in the future.

The plans include a new station being built by the boating lake on Southwold seafront, another station at Blythburgh, and tunnels under the A12 and A145.

Society chairman John Bennett has emphasised that the scheme is in the early stages and would need the support of local residents.


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Last night the matter was due to be discussed by the policy and finance committee of Southwold Town Council.

Before the meeting, held at Southwold Town Hall, members of the public were invited to have their say on items due to be discussed.

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A number of residents raised concerns about the proposed railway.

One resident said he was concerned that the new station on the seafront was due to be built on land that is already available to the public as a recreational amenity.

Other residents felt that more time should be allowed for public consultation before town councillors gave their opinions.

Deputy town mayor John Winter said: "This is such a big and complex issue affecting all of Southwold that more time to study in detail these proposals is needed."

Mr Winter proposed that the matter should be deferred to a later date and this was accepted by all councillors.

The plan includes following the site of the original line from Halesworth to Blythburgh, a station at Toby's Walk picnic site with park and ride facilities, tunnels under the A145 and A12 and a station and level crossing at Might's Road with the Southwold terminus by the yacht pond on the seafront.

Mr Bennett believes that funding for the project would be available from a variety of sources but insists that the scheme has to have public support to go ahead.

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