Defra minister Lord Gardiner visited Beccles station Friday to unveil the first of a new raft of signs welcoming visitors at key gateways to the Broads National Park. The sign, facilitated by the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership and rail operator Greater Anglia, was installed by Broads Authority apprentices.
The Authority is planning to work with the County, District and Parish Councils to install a network of signs in villages, towns and at other key locations in proximity of the park. Much of the local rail network including the Bittern, East Suffolk and Wherry Lines serve key locations within the National Park and the Authority is aiming to work with Greater Anglia and local Community Rail Partnerships to further identify additional sites.
Reading ‘Welcome to Beccles – Gateway to the Broads National Park’ the sign follows the successful move by the Broads Authority to use the national park name to reflect the fact that the Broads has status equivalent to that of a national park.
Lord Gardiner said: “The Broads National Park is a very special place which already attracts tourists from far and wide. With more than 90 million visitors enjoying our National Parks, generating £4 billion a year, these new signs in the Broads are designed to encourage even more tourists to this beautiful part of the country. This is a significant milestone for the Broads Authority and East Anglia, as we all work together to ensure the unique countryside and waterways continue to flourish for generations to come.”
Greg Munford, a Member of the Broads Authority as well as Chairman of Broads Tourism and Chief Executive of Richardson’s Leisure, said: “This is a great move forward in promoting the Broads as one of the famous family of UK national parks. On behalf of Broads Tourism I am sure it will really help attract the next generation of visitors who want to make the most of, and respect, this spectacular national park.”
A spokesperson for the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership added, “We are pleased to be involved with this exciting project and, in partnership with train operator Greater Anglia, hope to identify more opportunities to promote the Broads National Park to rail users both in the area and from further afield. We hope that local people and visitors seeing the sign will gain an understanding of this special place on our doorstep.”