Community on track to save historic station
31 August 2011
Trimley Station building is one step closer to being put to a new community use. The news follows a recent meeting with Network Rail who stressed how keen they are to see the station’s future resolved for rail passengers and local people.
Plans are now in hand to turn the Friends of Trimley Station into a community company which will look after the building. It is likely this would be in the form of a community company registered as a charity. Welcoming the move, Network Rail has agreed that this could provide a way forward with a decision being taken on the building’s future in three months.
“Network Rail have put the ball firmly in our court and it is now up to Suffolk Coastal, Felixstowe Futures, the Friends group, Trimley St Mary Parish Council and the local community to show them that we are proactive and dedicated to preserving this local historical landmark,” said Cllr Andy Smith, Cabinet Member for Planning.
A business plan for the building has been drawn up by Suffolk Acre and Trimley St Mary Parish Council to use the building as a community café, a large meeting room and an office space; based on the views of local residents, sports groups and businesses given in a questionnaire asking what they would like to see the building used for.
If a community company can be formed by the three month deadline, Network Rail will give the Friends a two year lease to weather and water tight the building and gain funding for their proposed project. If this is successful Network Rail will grant a long-term lease for the building. This would allow immediate improvement works to take place such as clearing vegetation, securing the roof and protecting key features with the help of volunteers.
“Public support, from the Friends group and local residents, for preserving the building has been very good so far so we are optimistic that a formal community company will be formed so that the business plan for a community café, large meeting room and an office space can be put into action.
“We are very pleased that Network Rail are keen to work with us and are willing to continue to put the demolition of the building on hold. I hope that we can continue to work together to implement an exciting long-term community use that will benefit the community and that everyone is happy with,” added Cllr Smith.
“We are really hopeful that the Friends get the support they need so that the building can be restored. The building’s future must be resolved and we would rather see it benefitting the community if that is possible,” said Jerry Swift, Network Rail’s head of community rail.
Public support for the Trimley station project is always important and anyone that can offer their expertise or is interested in joining the Friends group or coming along to their next meeting is encouraged to get in touch before the deadline in November.