Lottery hope for historic station

LOTTERY bosses with millions of pounds to give away today urged campaigners trying to save a Suffolk railway station to come and talk.Villagers have been desperately trying to stop Trimley station from being bulldozed and would love to see it refurbished and given a new lease of life.

LOTTERY bosses with millions of pounds to give away today urged campaigners trying to save a Suffolk railway station to come and talk.

Villagers have been desperately trying to stop Trimley station from being bulldozed and would love to see it refurbished and given a new lease of life.

Owner Network Rail is planning to demolish the building, the last surviving station built by the Great Eastern Railway, because the property is too dangerous to leave standing after years of neglect and attacks by vandals.

But the parish council, which has twice failed to get it listed, wants it saved and found a new use, such as a wine bar, restaurant or offices.

Resident Rosemary Gitsham is urging the council to contact the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which is ready for talks about the station.

"It would be marvellous if a way could be found to save the station for community or commercial purposes – it is such an important part of our villages and their history," said Mrs Gitsham, of Grimston Lane, Trimley St Martin.

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"It could be made really nice again and with talk of so much future development in the village it would be great to hang on to our past.

"I feel it could fit the criteria for a HLF grant. It was built in 1891 and is of historical importance, it is the last surviving station built by the Great Eastern, it requires repairs and conservation, and it is part of the heritage of both Trimleys."

While the council has led the campaign so far, it would not necessarily have to make the lottery bid and could form a separate group to do so.

It would not have to own the building but would need to enter an agreement with Network Rail and could take over the property.

Robyn Greenblatt, East of England regional manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has £15.4 million waiting to be claimed, said HLF officials were more than willing to discuss the project and give advice.

The HLF held weekly surgeries for people to get advice on proposed projects or an organisation could fill in a pre-application form to get an indication whether their scheme would meet the fund's criteria.

"The pre-application form asks some very simple questions to get basic information about a project and so we can take an initial look, give a reaction and then talk about the best way to proceed," she said.

"Really, I would say come and talk to us. We are able to help a huge range of different types of projects from museums to historic buildings, education projects to nature conservation to festivals."

Network Rail has said it would cost up to £100,000 to restore the dilapidated building. It plans to replace it with a 4ft 6in wooden picket fence.

n What do think should happen to Trimley station? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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