Museum expansion plan faces setback

By John HowardENTHUSIASTS at a working railway museum are dismayed at learning a council is set to throw out their expansion plan.The application from the Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum in Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, would include increasing the number of days that steam engines can run along restored track from eight to 20.

By John Howard

ENTHUSIASTS at a working railway museum are dismayed at learning a council is set to throw out their expansion plan.

The application from the Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum in Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, would include increasing the number of days that steam engines can run along restored track from eight to 20.

It also wants to open throughout the year, removing the current restriction that limits the museum to opening between Good Friday to September 30.


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The parish council has backed the proposal, subject to a number of conditions, including better access to the site.

Museum supporters added an increase in activities on the site would be of great benefit to the district, bringing in more tourism and helping the economy.

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But opponents said there would be an increase in traffic, while their peace and quiet would be shattered by the train noise.

Heather Morgan, planning control manager at Mid Suffolk District Council, said the expansion plan should be thrown out when councillors meet on Monday.

“The museum lies within a generally quiet countryside location and in proximity to a scattering of rural dwellings,” she added.

“It is considered that the substantial increase in locomotive activity proposed on special event days and Sundays would lead to a concurrent increase in the level of noise disturbance to homes and countryside users in the locality.”

Keith Froom, a board member for the charity that runs the museum, said: “We are totally astonished and are hoping that common sense will prevail when councillors discuss this next week.

“In the three years we have been operating trains we have not had a single objection from the public or the council over noise.

“Recent developments at the museum have been funded by Europe, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Suffolk County Council and by Mid Suffolk District Council itself.

“The museum finds it extraordinary that the council then considers denying people access to the results of that funding.”

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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