Plans for railway still steaming ahead

TRAIN enthusiasts in north Suffolk have not been deterred by a town council's rejection of their plans.Members of the Southwold Railway Trust have said they are still confident that their plans to build a narrow gauge railway from the seaside town to Henham will get the go-ahead by Waveney District Council planners despite local opposition.

TRAIN enthusiasts in north Suffolk have not been deterred by a town council's rejection of their plans.

Members of the Southwold Railway Trust have said they are still confident that their plans to build a narrow gauge railway from the seaside town to Henham will get the go-ahead by Waveney District Council planners despite local opposition.

Southwold Town Council voted almost unanimously, with one abstention, against the planning application on Tuesday night and Reydon residents have also voiced their concern. Discussing the plans, councillors said they did not want to be seen as a “toy town”.

A spokesman for the railway trust said: “The decision by Southwold Town Council to recommend rejection is not surprising.


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“There are very few applications that receive the benefit of a recommendation of approval in Southwold town hall. However, it is believed that several councillors support the project, as do a lot of people.”

The trust ultimately wants to restore the railway that ran all the way from Southwold to Halesworth from 1879 to 1929 but so far have submitted a planning application for just the first phase of the line.

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This route would travel from a proposed park-and-ride facility at Henham Park to the northern outskirts of Reydon and pass under the B1127 Lowestoft to Wrentham road before terminating at a Southwold station at Easton Bavents, close to the Southwold Pier car park.

The spokesman said: “There is nothing any more 'toy town' or 'theme park' about a steam railway other than charming features of the town, the Pier for instance.

“Naturally, the use of words such as 'toy town' and 'developers' is employed to create false impressions, but the trust hopes that fair-minded people will judge the scheme according to its merits.”

He said the project would be environmentally-friendly and that the park-and-facility at Henham would help alleviate the parking and traffic problems in Southwold.

Opponents to the scheme have said it would be detrimental to the environment, would break up the back lanes in Reydon and that it would not ease the town's congestion.

Southwold town councillors described the plan as “a joke” and said it was “big boys playing with their toys”.

n The map of the old route was incorrectly printed in yesterday's edition of the EADT. The proposed line will go from Southwold to Henham via Reydon. Apologies for any confusion this caused.

kate.scotter@eadt.co.uk

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