Plans to move Lowestoft rail station hit

GOVERNMENT guidelines which could have seen a busy train station moved just a quarter of a mile without any public consultation have been scrapped.Urban regeneration company 1st East has put forward plans to move Lowestoft railway station as part of a scheme to redevelop the town centre, and the suggestions involve relocating the station about 400m west along the track, which runs parallel to Denmark Road.

GOVERNMENT guidelines which could have seen a busy train station moved just a quarter of a mile without any public consultation have been scrapped.

Urban regeneration company 1st East has put forward plans to move Lowestoft railway station as part of a scheme to redevelop the town centre, and the suggestions involve relocating the station about 400m west along the track, which runs parallel to Denmark Road.

In December last year, the East Suffolk Travellers Association (Esta), which represents passengers who use the Ipswich/Lowestoft line, spoke out against plans from the Department for Transport to implement new legislation which would have allowed the relocation to go ahead without public consultation.

Now the government has dropped its minor modifications proposals, meaning that if plans to move the station are formally submitted, they will require a full public consultation and economic assessment before a decision can be made.

A spokesman for Esta said the news was a small but very significant victory.

He said: 'Had these proposals come into effect, the closure of Lowestoft's central station and the cutback of track by 400m could have gone ahead without a proper public inquiry.

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'Now Network Rail or the train operating company would have to go through the proper closure procedures, and both have confirmed that they want the station to stay where it is.

'Esta and the national voluntary body Railfuture were among those who objected to the Department for Transport's minor modifications proposals and we are delighted that they have now withdrawn these.'

A Network Rail spokesman said that although he was aware of 1st East's redevelopment suggestions, there were currently no plans to move the train station.

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