'It is simply unfair'- campaigner told demolition must go ahead
PUBLISHED: 08:18 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:12 23 January 2020
A writer campaigning to stop improvement works to a train station has been told it is "unfair" to customers to delay the work any further.
Andy Erlam, 67, from Brandon, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, has been campaigning to stop the demolition of the station master's house at the town's station since May 2019.
The work, put forward by service provider Greater Anglia, would create space for a host of improvements including increasing the carpark from six spaces to 100 and upgrading facilities.
Greater Anglia offered Mr Erlam the chance to create a business plan by the end of August to show he could fund the restoration of the building. The train company estimated it would cost between £1m to £1.5m to restore and needed significant evidence that the work could be completed and support a long term lease.
Mr Erlam submitted his plan in November but Greater Anglia said it is not enough. The firm has already delayed work and gave Mr Erlam and extension but has now said waiting longer is not possible.
Simone Bailey, a member of the asset management team, told Mr Erlam in an email: "We [Greater Anglia] have a duty to keep our passengers and any other station users safe, to improve services and station facilities for passengers and to maximise the income generated by the railway to maximise the premium we pay back to government to enable further investment in the rail network.
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"In the case of Brandon that either means delivering extensive improvements quickly by removing the building, which we know we can do and have planning permission to do."
Mr Erlam said the business plan should be accepted.
"Greater Anglia seem determined to demolish the building even though a solid business has offered to buy it," he said.
"Why does Greater Anglia want to waste money in an act of corporate vandalism. Previous claims by GA that the building is structurally unsafe are untrue. The Transport Minister will be informed. We fight on. "
Greater Anglia have been rolling out its new £1.4bn train fleet. Mr Bailey said as the trains are improved so must its stations.
"Our priority is to deliver better services and facilities for current and future rail passengers," he added.
"It is simply unfair to our customers and the local community to put off much-needed station improvements."