Demolition fear for Felixstowe landmark
FEARS were voiced today that one of Felixtowe's oldest and best-loved buildings could have reached the end of the line – with demolition a growing possibility.
By Richard Cornwell
FEARS were voiced today that one of Felixtowe's oldest and best-loved buildings could have reached the end of the line - with demolition a growing possibility.
Historian Doreen Rayner has been left 'desperately saddened' by vandal attacks on the town's Beach Station, and is worried that no new tenants will be found.
The derelict wood-clad building - opened on 1 May 1877 as the resort's first railway station, just yards from the sea - is not listed and that could leave it to just fall to bits and eventually be knocked down and its site redeveloped.
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"I think it is desperately sad and such a shame to see it left in the state it is now," said Mrs Rayner, who has a treasured model of the station in its heyday.
"My worry is that it could disappear altogether and I understand vandals have already made a start on it.
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"It would be lovely to think new tenants could be found and some sympathetic use and that it would be refurbished and really looked after. I will be speaking to my local councillor to see if any help could be given."
Mrs Rayner, of Manor Terrace, the author of several books about Landguard Fort and Felixstowe's history, obtained her model of the station from model maker Russell Clarke.
He based the work on the original pictures of the station when it opened, built as part of port founder Colonel George Tomline's hopes that Felixstowe would develop in its West End area.
In its heyday the station welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the seaside every day as they poured off the trains and headed for the beach. It closed in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s but it has always been hoped that it might re-open.
The Empress of Germany almost certainly used it when she holidayed in 1891 - her stay turning it into a fashionable resort for the London set.
Barbara Reid, chairman of the conservation group The Felixstowe Society, said: "It is a great shame and is not a building we would want to lose. The problem is that it is not very big and may be difficult to find a tenant for - we would like to know what its future holds."
The station is owned by a subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority and is being handled by agents Lambert Smith Hampton, who plan to board it up in the next few days.
A spokesman said the previous tenants Saxon Press had vacated the building in December to move to new premises. Discussions would be taking place with the owners to see what should happen to it.
A project to use land next to the station for homes and offices has been approved but cannot take place as the government said the site cannot be sold.
Do you have memories of using Beach Station as a passenger? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk