Ambitious plans to transform the station house at Wickham Market railway station (at Campsea Ashe) into a focal point for area villages is in high gear. The scheme, collectively known as ‘Station House On The Map’ envisages the station building as a venue and resource for the local community.
Whilst the the railway station has served passengers for over 150 years, the actual station building has not been utilised for rail purposes since the 1960s when most stations on the East Suffolk Line became unstaffed. The building, now owned by Suffolk County Council, and at one time a private residence, has stood empty for seven years.
The plans call for a long term lease to a local group determined to turn the station into a mixed use facility for the benefit of local residents, businesses, and groups. Meeting rooms, a fully functioning kitchen, cafe, community room, rooms for hire, a book and map room, and access to broadband and WiFi are part of the project. Touch screens inside the station would provide local information, from onward transportation to a list of local events in surrounding villages. A permanent exhibition on the history of the East Suffolk Line and an oral history project, both in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, are also planned. Preliminary design work is well underway.
Rail passengers will also benefit from access to real-time train information screens, a waiting room, the ability to purchase rail tickets, and restoration of the station canopy along the platform.
The plans are supported by Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, train operator Greater Anglia, and local parish councils.
The £520,000 project involves securing £312,000 through grants and the remaining £208,000 through donations. Some £62,000 is grant money has already been secured.
If you are interested in becoming involved, or for more information visit the Station House On The Map website.