Southwold rail scheme could be given go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 09:01 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:25 05 July 2010

A scheme to revive the elegance of steam travel in a coastal town could be given the green light next week.

A scheme to revive the elegance of steam travel in a coastal town could be given the green light next week.

The Southwold Railway Trust has been looking for ways to bring steam trains back to the town for many years, and in December plans were tabled for a £200,000 steam park.

The proposals, which will be discussed by Waveney District Council's development control committee on Wednesday night, would see the car breakers yard on Blyth Road turned into a steam park, with a stretch of 2ft gauge looped track allowing visitors to take trips around landscaped gardens on a replica locomotive.

The shed would be turned into an office, café, kitchen, museum, toilets and engine workshop, where Trust members could work on building a replica Sharp Stewart tank locomotive - the type of train which would have been used on the original Southwold to Halesworth railway, which closed in 1929.

A report for the development control committee recommends that the scheme be approved. However, at a meeting on Tuesday night, Southwold town councillors said that they would not give the go-ahead for any application on the site because they feel the access route should be kept as a footpath and not turned into a road. The railway trust has agreed that it will help towards improving Blyth Road so that it can be used as a permanent road into the steam park, which the Highways Authority has said should be included as a condition if planning permission is granted.

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