New £11m rail link could be on way

A NEW £11million rail link could form the centrepiece of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the former Blue Circle cement works in Great Blakenham.

A NEW £11million rail link could form the centrepiece of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the former Blue Circle cement works in Great Blakenham.

The proposed development – which could also provide space for new houses, a massive leisure complex and blue chip industries – hopes to include a new railway station served by a branch line.

Steve Kemp, of Lichfield Planning, whose company has been investigating the proposal on behalf of Mid Suffolk district council, has recommended that space be kept aside for the development of the new station.

He said: "For a major development that could attract a lot of people then we would expect a new rail link to be worthwhile and we would expect businesses to help with the cost."


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As exclusively revealed in The Evening Star in October, the development has already attracted interest from Snoasis Ltd, who hope to develop an ice rink and a ski slope with real snow as part of an active leisure destination. It is hoped to attract other leisure industries into the area to sit alongside the resort and help create more than 1,000 jobs.

Mr Kemp said: "There is the opportunity for a big leisure complex but that depends on who comes forward. We are working with the council to look at developments that would suit that area and the Snoasis project seems to fit in with what we are advocating."

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A new mixed-use site, which would include space for new houses and businesses, is also proposed. The project is seen as a key factor in the development of the Ipswich to Cambridge corridor.

Stephen Andrews, also from Lichfield Planning, said any proposals that we given the go-ahead would need to "fit in" with the existing area in a way that would not "harm" Great Blakenham.

Proposals are also being discussed to enable the site to generate its own power, with wind turbines among the suggested sources. However, the council has stressed that any new proposal would have to fit around the site's current use as a landfill site.

The planners have also identified improvements needing to be made to bus and road links in the area, with funding expected to be generated through attracting new businesses.

The council voted unanimously that the proposals would now be the subject of supplementary planning guidance. This is likely to be completed by the end of January 2003.

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