Middy fans chuffed with expansion

TRAIN enthusiasts are celebrating winning permission for a major expansion at their light railway museum, adding 210 metres of track for steam locomotive trips.

TRAIN enthusiasts are celebrating winning permission for a major expansion at their light railway museum, adding 210 metres of track for steam locomotive trips.

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway Company yesterday got the go-ahead to extend the existing single line track for a further 210 metres - beyond the existing 250 metres which had already gained planning permission - at Brockford Station, Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford, near Stowmarket.

Mid Suffolk district councillors backed it at their meeting in Needham Market after hearing there had been a mixture of strong support and opposition.

The track will now be laid, allowing short trips behind steam or diesel locomotives, to and from Brockford Station, allowing the museum exhibits to be seen in operation.


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Railway enthusiasts argued that the museum at Brockford Station:

n Is the only preserved standard gauge steam railway in Suffolk, and as such, a unique resource

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n The unique facility attracts a wide variety of visitors to the countryside from both the local community and further afield

n The museum is an important educational, recreational, heritage and tourism attraction

n The railway extension will be relatively modest, with minimal impact upon the surrounding rural landscape and neighbours. The proposal would not result in any significant increase in visitor traffic than at present.

Gordon Terry, a planning consultant and agent for the museum, said: "There will be no noise problem, no traffic problems or visitor number problems. This is a very good thing for the village, bringing people in to the countryside.

"Only one councillor was against this, the officers recommended approval, we think this is a very sensible decision.''

Rodney Self, principal planning officer, said the main issues were noise nuisance, smoke and steam pollution, landscape and road concerns. There were 21 letters of objection, and 75 in support. The main opposition to the development was on noise grounds.

But Mr Self recommended the development gained planning permission, citing local and national policies encouraging tourism within the countryside.

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