Emergency meeting called over removal of historic railway carriage

Clare Castle Country Park Picture: ANDREW MUTIMER

Clare Castle Country Park Picture: ANDREW MUTIMER - Credit: citizenside.com

An emergency meeting has been called by a town council over the removal of a much-loved railway carriage which was housed at a country park.

Clare Country Park trustees
L to R: Gary Brown, Charmain Hawkins, Derek Blake, Richard Smith, Sharo

Clare Country Park trustees L to R: Gary Brown, Charmain Hawkins, Derek Blake, Richard Smith, Sharon Benson, Geoffrey Bray, Keith Mison, Kate Terry - Credit: Archant

Residents in Clare have voiced their disapproval on social media that the historic goods wagon at Clare Country Park has been removed by trustees without permission from the town council and are demanding its return.

Ownership of all the land and buildings at the park was transferred from Suffolk County Council to Clare Town Council in March 2015.

The town council has an agreement with the Clare Country Park Trust to manage the park.

Bob Verguson, town councillor, said: “The first I heard of it is when a low-loader went past my house with a goods wagon on the back and I said ‘there can’t be too many of them about now’. But it turned out it was ours,” he said.

“People in Clare are incensed and very upset as it’s part of the town’s heritage.”

But park manager and chairman of trustees Geoffrey Bray said a consultation took place in July last year.

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The park has been awarded £1.5million of heritage lottery funding and one of the projects includes the refurbishment of the Clare Park Centre – the former railway goods shed – which housed the goods wagon.

Under the plans, the Clare Park Centre will be turned into a multi-purpose space for educational purposes and exhibitions.

Mr Bray said: “A consultation was carried out about what we were planning to do. We made it clear that, regrettably, it was not practical to keep it.”

Further anger has been caused by confusion over where the railway carriage has gone.

A statement on the Clare Country Park Trust Facebook page said the wagon had been moved to a new home at Colne Valley Railway Centre.

According to Mr Verguson, the Colne Valley Railway Centre said the wagon was not there and had no knowledge of being its new home.

Mr Bray said the goods wagon is going to Colne Valley Railway Centre at Castle Hedingham but it is currently being stored as he was told the low-loader truck could not get onto the site due to a partial blockage of the entrance.

The meeting will take place on October 5, at Clare Pavilion.

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