The Southwold Railway Trust is naturally disappointed that Suffolk Coastal’s planning committee refused the application for a Southwold Railway Heritage Centre at Wenhaston last Wednesday, 5th December. However, we are much encouraged by the close vote – 5 to 3 – and also the emergence during the committee discussion that there was enthusiasm for a restoration of the Southwold Railway with track running through the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Of 504 miles of heritage railway in the UK, 326 run successfully through AONBs. Effect on the AONB was one of six reasons given for refusal, as was the risk of flooding. The Environment Agency withdrew its objections based upon flood risk, and the Trust believes that positive answers and solutions can be provided in respect of all the objections to our proposals. This being the case, we have decided to appeal to the Secretary of State against the planning decision. At the same time we will make a reapplication for a smaller project for the site, taking note of the comments made by objectors and by our many supporters.
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