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Wenhaston villagers hope to derail Southwold Railway Trust plan

11:51 25 May 2012

Wenhaston residents have objected to a heritage railway site being built in the village

Wenhaston residents have objected to a heritage railway site being built in the village

Archant

CAMPAIGNING villagers are hoping to put the brakes on a proposal to build a heritage railway site along a stretch of Suffolk countryside.

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A battle to derail the bid by the Southwold Railway Trust to bring a half-mile steam line to Wenhaston, is being fought, with claims the development would have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.

Villagers argue the proposed site, which is similar in model to the Mid Suffolk Light Railway, has been unwisely located on a flood plain and would encourage heavy visitor traffic.

But the trust has defended its plan, saying it would address concerns and that it wanted to “work with the village, rather than against it”.

The Montague family lives at the east end of the line and has witnessed flooding in the area through which a single steam engine and coach would run.

Phil Montague said: “Wildlife will be constantly disrupted, after remaining undisturbed for 80 years.

“Unlike in Leiston, where they are restoring a locomotive, this plan lacks historic significance, and though there may be little visual impact, we will get smoke and noise throughout the day.”

Ann Edwards, parish council chairman, said an earlier plan to build closer to the A12 on brownfield land would have received fewer objections.

She said: “It was originally going to be only a railway and not this huge theme park. I think the trust has been surprised by the level of hostility.”

Eddie Metcalfe, of Blyford Lane, feared the site would draw hundreds of vehicles daily. He said: “The village has narrow roads on which people already walk and cycle. It makes it more dangerous whichever direction traffic comes from.”

Trains last operated there more than 80 years ago and, since 1994, the trust has explored reopening the line.

The trust’s plans include rebuilding the old station and creating a wildlife and visitor centre, featuring a cafe and museum.

Publicity officer the Rev Simon Pitcher said: “It’s important to understand the scale of things. This is not something that will be open all year and we hope traffic can be directed at Blyford and not through the village.

“We don’t think the project will be seen by most of the village and neither do we think it will be heard.

“Flooding is part of a submission by qualified engineers in the planning application. Part of the wildlife management is to provide lagoons which we believe will protect the site and enable us to create more habitats.

“We hope to work with the village, rather than against it.”

Suffolk Coastal planners confirmed a site visit this week, before considering the bid, at the earliest next month.

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8 comments

  • This scheme sounds great and on par with Bure Valley Railway. an asset to the region and could reduce traffic in Southwold. it has been proved that wildlife adapts to light noise and often flourishes from it. there should be a few jobs created from the spin off which must be good news work for a positive solution don't just say not in my back yard

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    k day

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • It's always easier to oppose something than to support it.

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    Father Brian

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

  • Nice to give this negative publicity when people object. I didn't see any front page of the website articles about the trust planning to open this railway....

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    Richard_Waugh

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • As usual with the previous attempts to reopen any part of the Southwold Railway, the Archant newspapers including the Journal, give maximum publicity to the objectors. Is this because one of the EDP columnists is an well known objector and arranges maximum publicity for his friends? The EDP openly advised people to object to this scheme on the day the consulation closed. It is very strange that the EDP is so biased in this matter.

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    Port Watcher

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • So are they saying they have never ever visited a Preserved steam railway ever in their life? Coming from Suffolk it might be true for them, but if the planners have, and have anything about them they will ignore this pathetic and weak protest.

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    GF

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • Southwold Railway Trust already has planning consent for a similar development on a brownfield site in Southwold. The flood meadows in Wenhaston are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This designation should deter development and protect wildlife and the environment.

    Add your comment |

    MC

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • Just image the objections that would be launched today if someone tried to build something like the 1876 Ribblehead viaduct for the Settle - Carlisle line. It`s now possibly the most picturesque railway line in the world and draws people from all over the globe. The protesters ought to be encouraging the creation jobs for its young people so that they stay in the village to ensure that it has a future. Not trying to preserve it in aspic.

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    BG

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • Echoes of previous NIMBY protests that a group of 10 or so people are somehow counted to be representative of a whole community. And knowing that their arguments are weak they stray into ludicrous descriptions of the proposed development, calling it " a huge theme park" and talking of constant disturbance from trains as if it was something akin to the East coast main line rather than a narrow gauge line with a occasional train trundling along. Also very concerned if the suggestion that the tone of your article is down to the personal views of one columnist is correct. We deserve better from the EDP.

    Add your comment |

    Chris Booty

    Friday, May 25, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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