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Row over ‘withdrawal’ of Hayling railway plans

Bob Haddock, the founder of Hayling Seaside Railway (front) pictured last year with his team of volunteers (l-r) Chris Rogers, Max Cathcart, Lloyd Duncan, Matt Orr and Alex Luckham.  

Hayling seaside railway is commemorating 50 years since the Hayling Billy line closed


Picture: Allan Hutchings (133036-054)

Bob Haddock, the founder of Hayling Seaside Railway (front) pictured last year with his team of volunteers (l-r) Chris Rogers, Max Cathcart, Lloyd Duncan, Matt Orr and Alex Luckham. Hayling seaside railway is commemorating 50 years since the Hayling Billy line closed Picture: Allan Hutchings (133036-054)

CAMPAIGNERS say they are angry over the mixed messages for plans for the Hayling Seaside Railway depot.

Over the weekend a statement from the railway group said that the controversial proposals for a large new depot on Eastoke seafront were being withdrawn and alternatives were being investigated.

Campaigners, who fear the view of the beach will be ruined by the 16ft high by 80ft wide structure, were pleased there would be a reprieve.

However, late yesterday afternoon the group corrected its weekend annoucement and said the proposals were not being withdrawn, but amended.

This led to frustration for the Save Our Seafront campaigners who say they would have spent the weekend ensuring representations were made to the council by their supporters.

Clare Satchwell, one of the organisers, said: ‘We saw the announcement of withdrawal as a step forward and an opportunity to raise concerns and ask questions without a rapidly ticking clock.

‘Save our Seafront is not against the railway but feel that rather than this being viewed as a planning decision – which could have lots of implications for the future of the seafront – residents and businesses are being asked to shoulder the responsibility for the future of the railway business.’

Bob Haddock, founder of the popular narrow gauge railway which runs along the seafront, has been searching for a site to build a new depot for the past two years and recently submitted a planning application to Havant Borough Council for Eastoke.

The move was prompted by the inclusion of Funlands – where it is currently based – in the council’s homes allocation plan which means the area can be developed for housing.

While many people support the plans it has also provoked a storm of protests from businesses and residents who are angry that the view could be obscured.

Mr Haddock said: ‘We’re not withdrawing the planning application, we’re amending it. It will be a lot smaller. I’m with the architect now and we’re working to see how much smaller we can make it.

‘We want to come to a conclusion that everyone will be happy with.’

He said the building would be painted a light grey colour and covered in New England-style horizontal dash boards although no artists’ impressions have been released yet.

The closing date for representations is July 31.

 

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