A proposal to reinstate a stretch of Suffolk railway has been met with criticism from villagers living close to the site, with some labelling it a “theme park”.

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The Southwold Railway Trust has applied to Suffolk Coastal for permission to restore a half-mile line at Wenhaston as a heritage railway site, running a single steam engine and coach in the direction of Blythburgh seven times a day.

At a public meeting in the village hall, vocal opponents of the bid outnumbered a handful of supporters as they expressed concerns about the potential impact on the surrounding countryside, the influx of traffic from construction vehicles and visitors, and because the site is located on a flood plain.

The trust’s James Hewett and John Bennett attempted to allay concerns, arguing that measures would be in place to mitigate any disruption and that the site would benefit the village and enhance an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Mr Bennett added: “We are trying to keep things as inconspicuous as possible. The landscape is very important in the scheme of things.

“We want to do something that benefits the village as much as possible – that will strengthen the local economy and provide local employment.”

Trains last operated on the track more than 80 years ago and, since 1994, the trust has explored whether the Victorian Southwold-Halesworth 3ft gauge branch line, via Wenhaston, Blythburgh and Walberswick, could be reopened.

In 2007, Waveney District Council rejected its bid for a slightly revised version of the entire original route.

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

7 comments

  • It's always easier to oppose something than support it. The countryside will die unless people support imaginative proposals for its regeneration.

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    Father Brian

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • As a regular visitor to the locality, in my view it will enhance and add character to the countryside. Admittedly, it might bring a few more cars into Wehnaston, but I very much doubt the horrors they're suggesting It's not my observation that Wenhaston residents are anti-car when it comes to events at the pub

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    oultonbroadman

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

  • NIMBEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!

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    Dogberry

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • It is a reinstatement of an existing railway. It does not matter one iota it was 80 years ago, it was there before you. Let it happen. Do not moan. Embrace and enjoy. PLEASE.

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    Mooncat

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • It seems amazing in an area where tourism and holiday makers make up an important component of the local income, that there are people who object to attempts to provide facilities that will attract more visitors who will spend money in this area! Especially when the local tourist industry is saying that we need more visitors, not less, unfortunately too many people around here only think of how they will be affected and not how the rest of the area will benefit

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    Ken Baker

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

  • It's the usual, "as long as it's not in my backyard" syndrome, which causes deafness to all debate

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    oultonbroadman

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

  • If there was a railway line there before whats the problem?. Its not like they are sticking up a load of hideous windmills.

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    Kev Bacon

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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

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