Station set for final whistle
FRANTIC last-ditch efforts were being made today to stop one of Felixstowe's most historic buildings from being bulldozed.Councillors were standing guard outside the site waiting to speak to a demolition team who it is believed have been instructed to knock down Beach Station.
FRANTIC last-ditch efforts were being made today to stop one of Felixstowe's most historic buildings from being bulldozed.
Councillors were standing guard outside the site waiting to speak to a demolition team who it is believed have been instructed to knock down Beach Station.
A massive crane, skip and JCB were moved onto the site in Beach Station Road at the weekend and notices saying "Demolition in progress" were put up.
Campaigners and historians were today preparing to seek a preservation notice to stop any action – and also a spot listing to protect the property.
Town council public transport representative Bryan Frost said: "If these people who have moved on to the site have been told to demolish it, then that would be quite criminal.
"This building is a vital part of Felixstowe's history and was responsible for the birth of modern Felixstowe.
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"It has been untouched for most of its 127 years and has original windows and outstanding brickwork.
"I was at a meeting only a few weeks ago when the county council was saying that it had still not given up hope of having passenger services to Beach Station once again. If the port expands and the south seafront is built the need for a railway service in this area could become very important."
Mr Frost said a building preservation notice could be placed on the building today to stop it being demolished.
Town and district councillor Harry Dangerfield said he and other councillors had been in touch with Suffolk Coastal over the weekend and it appeared that certain orders needed before demolition could take place had not been issued.
"We are keeping a very close eye on this situation – many people are upset at the possibility of losing Beach Station and we want to see it kept," he said.
"There are a variety of options for its future and these need to be looked at fully before anything is done."
Historian Doreen Rayner has been left "desperately sad" by vandal attacks on the old station and said everything possible must be done to save it.
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. It has been empty since the end of last year when a printing company moved out.
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 station is owned by a subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority and is being handled by agents Lambert Smith Hampton, who last month had it boarded up to protect it from vandals.
n What do you think of the possible demolition of Beach Station? Do you have memories of using it as a passenger? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk