The Trust – a locally-run charity (as its name suggests) has had to cope with an orchestrated campaign of (sometimes quite unpleasant) vilification over the last five years. On the opposition’s social media site, it has been said that “they are all old, so luckily, they will die soon” – and twice (in 2012 and 2015) scurrilous, anonymous – and quite possibly libellous – leaflets have been delivered around Wenhaston. Comments in the local press and to the planning authority (always from the same two or three residents) have made thoroughly ridiculous statements that our 10mph half-mile narrow gauge railway, operating for thirty days per year, will totally destroy the local wildlife and bird population, flood every adjacent property, and utterly ruin the lives of everyone within one hundred square miles of our restored station. We are sure that we don’t need to draw our readers’ attention to all the other Heritage Railways which operate in sensitive areas! Some objectors are particularly good at Orwellian “doublethink” (which is defined as holding two mutually contradictory opinions at one time): our project will, apparently, be too popular (with several thousand train-spotters descending en masse), and AT THE SAME TIME will be so unpopular that it will fail, leaving a scrap heap. It will allegedly attract excessive visitors as it stands – while AT THE SAME TIME has been said to be “too small to be worthwhile”. In 2012, we were castigated because we planned to provide a decently-sized car park, to get visitors off Blyford Lane. So – in 2013, we removed said car provision, and worked out a way by which visitors could only arrive on our dedicated bus, or service buses. But this was apparently equally unacceptable. The Environment Agency (the national arbiters of all matters concerned with flood plains and potential flooding) said – some years ago – that they were withdrawing all their objections to our new station, because our civil engineering plans were appropriate, and could not cause flooding. But the opposition have taken no notice of this, believing that they know better. Fundamentally, as we will never tire of saying – those opposed must adduce actual evidence that the 200-or-so other heritage railways damage their AONBs and National Parks. There is none.
As the window for support in our Appeal nears its end (it’s the last day today, so if you have not e-mailed the Inspector, please do it now – details in the previous blog), a number of rather silly and badly-expressed posters have been flyposted around the village. The tone of these (a copy is illustrated) is so unpleasant, ignorant (they don’t understand the concept of irony, for example – see previous blogs) and immaturely triumphalist, that many of our Wenhaston members and supporters have urged the Trust, traduced thus, to retaliate in kind. However – detailed textual analysis* of the document shows that it is almost certainly the work of a child, or possibly an adult with learning difficulties. The Trust, as a responsible charity with a rigorous ethics, will therefore of course not retaliate in any way, dismissing this as an aberration which does not reflect the views of the majority of Wenhaston villagers, whom we know to be thoroughly decent, sensible, and honourable people.
*available on demand to those who might be interested