Railway plans rejected by councillors

PLANS to revive an historic railway line between two north Suffolk towns have been rejected by local councillors.Southwold town councillors have recommended refusal of a planning application to the first phase of a plan to reinstate a narrow gauge railway that ran between the seaside town and Halesworth from 1879 to 1929.

PLANS to revive an historic railway line between two north Suffolk towns have been rejected by local councillors.

Southwold town councillors have recommended refusal of a planning application to the first phase of a plan to reinstate a narrow gauge railway that ran between the seaside town and Halesworth from 1879 to 1929.

The Southwold Railway Society has submitted plans for the first phase of the line, which would run from a proposed park-and-ride facility at Henham Park to Southwold Pier, via Wangford and Reydon.

Councillor John Miller told last night's meeting that he could not take the plans seriously.


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“It's lunacy. People laugh at us because we are so quaint, but we don't want to be a theme town,” he said.

Michael Ladd, town mayor, said: “What annoys me is this 'toy town' mentality. We are a working community and don't want to be seen like a 'toy town'.”

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The town council also rejected the plans when they were first discussed three years ago. This was because the train in the previous draft consultation document actually went through Southwold.

It was thought a level crossing on the only road into Southwold would add to the traffic problems.

This time, however, the line would travel 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.

Members of the public, David De Kretser and Jonathan Adnams, also spoke out against the plans at last night's meeting. They claimed the railway would be detrimental to the environment.

The railway society has maintained the line would be a narrow gauge railway and would have minimal effect on the environment.

The majority of funding for the project would most likely come from transport grants but society members have acknowledged it would take at least three years for the railway to become operational if it won planning permission.

The scheme is set to be discussed at Reydon's parish council meeting tomorrow night and then it will go to Waveney District Council planners next Wednesday .

kate.scotter@eadt.co.uk

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