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Multi-million pound facelift for station

PUBLISHED: 11:46 06 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:48 01 August 2010

A MULTI-million pound redevelopment project to give Beccles railway station a major facelift could start by the end of the year, says Waveney's MP.

But Bob Blizzard has also criticised Network Rail for its "unacceptable inertia" and claimed the scheme could be at risk because the company is taking so long to complete the legal process surrounding a land swap agreement.

A MULTI-million pound redevelopment project to give Beccles railway station a major facelift could start by the end of the year, says Waveney's MP.

But Bob Blizzard has also criticised Network Rail for its “unacceptable inertia” and claimed the scheme could be at risk because the company is taking so long to complete the legal process surrounding a land swap agreement.

The improvements to Beccles station, which will include a secure car park, CCTV cameras and a new shelter and seating, have been in the pipeline for almost a decade.

The project will also see construction of a new care home and access road, while a 15-space car park will be built at the north end of the existing platform and Station Square will be pedestrianised and landscaped to improve the appearance of the station and access for passengers. Planning permission for the scheme was granted in 2005.

Mr Blizzard said: “Beccles will have a new-look station next year if Network Rail's property department gets its act together.

“Some years ago, at a meeting I convened in my constituency office, an outline land swap agreement was reached between Network Rail and local developer Arthur Crisp which will see the remaining derelict land around Beccles station developed for residential use.

“The development will provide a new vehicular approach to the station at the northern end of the platform with car parking, set

down, taxi and bus stop facilities. It will also provide a new shelter on the platform. However, I was alerted last week that the development could be at risk because Network Rail is taking so long to complete the legal process. I made it clear to Network Rail that their inertia is unacceptable and they agreed to get a move on.

“Beccles people will feel let down if it doesn't happen.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “All parties are equally keen to see this development progress as it would deliver a welcome

package of improvements for the station.

“As the responsible owner of the country's railway infrastructure, we are obliged to follow strict procedures when dealing with a project of this nature. Cutting corners on contractual issues is not possible and would not be in the best interests of the railway or local people.”

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