Two-week stay of execution for station

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's first railway station from demolition today won a two-week stay of execution for the historic building.They are now hoping it can either be listed for its architectural merit, preserved and found a new use, or be sold to railway enthusiasts and be dismantled brick by brick and taken to a new home.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's first railway station from demolition today won a two-week stay of execution for the historic building.

They are now hoping it can either be listed for its architectural merit, preserved and found a new use, or be sold to railway enthusiasts and be dismantled brick by brick and taken to a new home.

As they celebrated winning the first stage of the battle, it was revealed that the bulldozers were stopped with just hours to spare.

Demolition gangs had been planning to tear down Beach Station at 10.30pm on Sunday – and only councillors' notices put up on the gates prevented them.

Councillor Mike Ninnmey said: "It was very close indeed to being bulldozed – and we had a lot of rushing about to do.

"We understand work would have started at 10.30pm Sunday and the building would have been down by 2am yesterday before anyone could have done anything to protect it.

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"Because we managed to get information over the weekend from Suffolk Coastal that in order to demolish it needed to be informed under the Environment, Pollution and Noise Act, we were able to print notices and put them up.

"That way if demolition had gone ahead, action could have been taken against those involved. But fortunately the company saw them and stopped the work."

But Mr Ninnmey said that apparently the proper permissions would be sought and the work would go ahead in two weeks' time.

"It would be an act of civic vandalism if this station – the first built on our part of the east coast – was to be taken down without giving people the chance to have it restored or for it to be taken elsewhere for others to cherish it," he said.

It is understood that it would cost around £60,000 to restore it. Demolition is costing around £20,000.

Wood-clad Beach Station, in Beach Station Road, opened on May 1, 1877, as the resort's first railway station. At that time Felixstowe was a village of 894 people, and a decade later, because of the railway, was home to 3,500

In its heyday the station welcomed 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, which has been empty since the end of last year when a printing company moved out, is owned by a subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority. A spokesman for the owner's agents Lambert Smith Hampton made no comment.

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

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