North Suffolk rail link - have your say

THE ballot boxes for a survey have arrived and the people of north Suffolk can now have their say on an issue that is dividing many local communities.On Saturday the EADT launched a ballot on the controversial proposal to revive the historic rail link between Halesworth and Southwold.

THE ballot boxes for a survey have arrived and the people of north Suffolk can now have their say on an issue that is dividing many local communities.

On Saturday the EADT launched a ballot on the controversial proposal to revive the historic rail link between Halesworth and Southwold.

A special voting form has again been published todayand gives people living in the area an opportunity to have their say.

It is possible to cast a vote by taking the form to the EADT office at 25 Market Place, Halesworth, or post it to our head office at EADT Newsdesk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.


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Ballot boxes are also being delivered to DCPatrick's newsagents in Market Place, Halesworth and Purdy's newsagents High Street, Southwold todayand the voting form will be published in tomorrow's EADT to give as many people as possible the chance to take part.

We hope the ballot will be the biggest test of public opinion on the railway proposals in north Suffolk.

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The results will be presented to Southwold Railway Society who are behind the scheme to revive the rail link between the two north Suffolk towns that operated from 1879 to 1929.

Southwold Town Council and Halesworth Town Council will also receive notification of the way people living in the area have voted on the issue.

Town councillors have had a chance to give their opinions on the issue but we feel it is important that as many members of the public as possible should also take part in the debate.

When Southwold councillors debated the issue there was an overwhelming vote against supporting the railway society.

At Halesworth, however, town councillors feel the scheme would bring benefits to the area and are backing the revival of the narrow gauge rail link.

Under the railway society's £6.5 million plan steam trains would run on an 8.5 mile track between Halesworth and Southwold.

The line would largely follow the route of the original line from Halesworth to Blythburgh, but would take a new route into Southwold via Reydon that would see the line pass close to Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, and the Hen Reedbeds.

The track would also cross the only road into Southwold close to Mights Bridge where a level crossing would have to be installed.

Supporters of the scheme, that also includes a park and ride facility and restaurant next to the A12 on the edge of Blythburgh, believe that objections, including concerns about the local environment, can be overcome.

Those against the link, however, are convinced that the rail link would cause untold damage to the Blyth Valley's vital wildlife habitat.

More than 300 people wrote to Southwold Town Council objecting to the scheme and 200 objectors also protested outside the town hall last week prior to a meeting of councillors.

Supporters of the railway society's plans believe that many of these were influenced by reports exaggerating the environmental damage the heritage railway would cause to the area.

We want to provide the opportunity for local residents to have their say in a survey that will be as fair and impartial as possible.

Railway society chairman John Bennett has promised that the scheme can only progress if it has the support and goodwill of the majority of the public.

Please use your vote to give an accurate picture of how residents feel on one of the most important issues affecting the Blyth Valley area.

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