IT’S a key year in the fight to save Trimley railway station from demolition – but campaigners are optimistic that it can be turned into a community hub.

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Buoyed by the news of a “substantial sum” towards the project from the Railway Heritage Trust, an application for charity status has now been submitted and plans are in hand for a lottery grant bid.

Members of the Trimley Station Community Trust met with Trimley St Mary Parish Council to outline the progress of the project to raise £250,000 to turn the 121-year-old Victorian station and brake goods store – the last surviving Great Eastern country station – on the Ipswich to Felixstowe line into a cafe, information centre, offices and meeting room.

Trust director Peter Wain said the community was behind the project and the 220 friends of the trust had been extremely industrious in the way they had set about fundraising with a series of events and activities.

“We have been responsible and energetic in the establishment of the project for the benefit of the community and we are optimistic about its chances for success,” he said.

The aims this year were to sign a lease on the station and then to undertake a full survey of the building and carry out some work to make it weatherproof.

“Once we have the survey we can make an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, although we may seek money from various sources to allow us to carry out ongoing work,” he said.

Trust chairman Robert Scrimgeour said the initial lease would be two years in order to enable the group to develop and design the project and seek funding. If this is successful a lease of 25 years would be sought.

The trust assured the parish council that the station would not compete with the Welcome Hall, and offer very different and modern hi-tech computer-linked facilities for groups, individuals and businesses, and also rail-users.

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