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‘No point prolonging the agony’: Campaigner told historic building can not be saved

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:30 03 March 2020

Andy Erlam has been told he can not save the station master's house at Brandon Railway Station. Picture: Andy Erlam/Archant

Andy Erlam has been told he can not save the station master's house at Brandon Railway Station. Picture: Andy Erlam/Archant

Archant

A campaigner looks set to lose his fight to save a historic building which would be lost as part of a railway station redevelopment after being told “10 years of talks has achieved absolutely nothing”.

Great Anglia has been given the go-ahead to improve Brandon Railway Station with an increased car park and extra facilities. Picture: Sonya DuncanGreat Anglia has been given the go-ahead to improve Brandon Railway Station with an increased car park and extra facilities. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Andy Erlam has been trying to save the station master's house at Brandon Railway Station, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, after plans were announced by Greater Anglia to create a larger car park with charges and extra facilities.

The writer attempted to buy the building for £100 in September last year after he claimed it was not worth anything, with the restoration set to cost around £250,000.

But Greater Anglia told him it would need a bid and business plan with backing of around £1m.

Mr Erlam, 68, has now been told by the Railway Heritage Trust (RHT) that it does not oppose the demolition, and that they "can't save everything".

Great Anglia has been given the go-ahead to improve Brandon Railway Station with an increased car park and extra facilities. Picture: Sonya DuncanGreat Anglia has been given the go-ahead to improve Brandon Railway Station with an increased car park and extra facilities. Picture: Sonya Duncan

In an email RHT executive director, Andy Savage, said: "The RHT has seen no sustainable plans for Brandon, and Greater Anglia appears to believe your proposals to them will not work.

"Ten years of talk about Brandon has achieved absolutely nothing, and there is operational demand for more car parking space at the station.

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"We are quite clear you can't save everything, and unless Greater Anglia says that there is a sustainable proposal we can see no point in prolonging the agony with the building, and would not oppose demolition."

Great Anglia has been given the go-ahead to improve Brandon Railway Station with an increased car park and extra facilities. Picture: Sonya DuncanGreat Anglia has been given the go-ahead to improve Brandon Railway Station with an increased car park and extra facilities. Picture: Sonya Duncan

But Mr Erlam said the town is in favour of saving the building, which has been in its centre for more than 100 years and featured in 1960s comedy Dad's Army.

"It should be called the Demolition Trust," Mr Erlam said. "Brandon wants to keep its station building. Viable purchase offers have been made.

"Greater Anglia and RHT should be ashamed of themselves for recklessly trying to destroy our heritage."

Mr Savage said RHT is a company that works with Network Rail and firms to look at restoring buildings where it can.

It will support demolition if it is something that will "benefit society". In Brandon's case it has not objected to the demolition.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: "We have worked closely with the RHT for several years to successfully improve some stations.

"Brandon is a growing town and we have seen station usage figures increase year on year. We want to invest in the station facilities to make it fit for purpose for both now and in the future."


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