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Farmer expresses interest in saving signal box from demolition

PUBLISHED: 15:03 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:24 02 August 2018

Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Farmer and Weeting Steam Rally organiser Richard Parrott said he would like to save the signal box. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Farmer and Weeting Steam Rally organiser Richard Parrott said he would like to save the signal box. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Archant

A farmer has expressed his desire to save a signal box on the Norfolk Suffolk border from demolition.

The Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca MurphyThe Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Some residents of both Brandon and Weeting have raised their concerns that the Brandon signal box is to be pulled down by Network Rail.

Built in 1931, the box is not a listed building unlike Thetford’s building.

Richard Parrott, who owns Fengate Farm and runs the popular Weeting Steam Engine Rally, has expressed an interest in giving the box a permanent home.

He said: “I think it is a great shame to just smash it up. It would be part of the annual steam really. We do have two steam locomotives here. People will be able to see it each year at the rally.

Fengate farm owner and Weeting Steam Rally organiser Richard Parrott, pictured in 2011. Picture Angela SharpeFengate farm owner and Weeting Steam Rally organiser Richard Parrott, pictured in 2011. Picture Angela Sharpe

“It is part of the rail history. The signalmen worked the gates too and that is why they had the box where it is.”

Mr Parrott said he is in correspondence with both Brandon Town Council and Weeting Parish Council about saving the box.

A demolition notice was put on the building by Network Rail in 2016.

Classified as a permitted development, it means Network Rail must tell Brandon Town Council, as the planning authority, but the authority cannot object in principle.

The Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca MurphyThe Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Brandon councillor Eddie Stewart said there has been issues trying to reach Network Rail about saving the box and has been in contact with local MPs Liz Truss and Matt Hancock.

Mr Stewart said: “It is part of the heritage of the town. It may not be important to Network Rail, but too much of the heritage of towns is going and people don’t seem to fight for it.

“I think history is important. If Mr Parrott can take it, he would save a piece of heritage of Brandon and Weeting.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said a date for the demolition has yet to be confirmed.

The Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca MurphyThe Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

They added: “We understand community interest in old railway buildings like signal boxes, and where possible we work with heritage railways and other interested parties to distribute parts, such as the levers.

“Unfortunately the boxes cost a lot to maintain and we have to ensure we manage public money effectively.”

Network Rail said people who wish to retain the remaining parts of the signal box should call their helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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