DCSIMG

“Hands off our signal box,” village tells rail bosses

Parish councillor Judy Stevens and county councillor Phil Dilks at Deeping St James Scout Hut for a community meeting on the village's signal box.

Parish councillor Judy Stevens and county councillor Phil Dilks at Deeping St James Scout Hut for a community meeting on the village's signal box.

 

Campaigners fighting to save a railway signal box in Deeping St James have rejected a rescue plan put forward by rail bosses.

At least 40 people came to Deeping St James Scout Hut for a community meeting where plans were unveiled by Network Rail for the “sensitive and partial deconstruction” of St James Deeping signal box in Station Road.

The historic building is viewed by people in Deeping St James as the entrance to the village from Crowland, but Network Rail wants to remove it as part of the £280 million modernisation of the GNGE (Great Northern Great Eastern) line between Doncaster and Peterborough.

Mark Walker, communications officer for the GNGE project, said: “Over the last couple of months, the Deeping St James community has been very active on the future of St James Deeping signal box and we understand your desire to protect part of the heritage of your community.

“Since the campaign started, a lot of people in our project team have been trying to devise some sort of solution to ensure that the signal box, or some elements of it, are transferred into your custody.

“Although we will demolish the structure, we will be donating the bricks as a kind of kit for you to rebuild the signal box in a location of your choice.”

But Deeping St James parish councillor Judy Stevens, who chaired the meeting alongside county councillor Phil Dilks, said: “I’m really glad that Network Rail has taken on the thoughts and concerns of the people of Deeping St James and I thank them very much for coming up with a plan (to save the signal box) which we all appreciate them doing.

“But it’s not good enough and we’ve all made our position very clear.”

Meanwhile, the fight to save the signal box has been given a significant boost by South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes.

At the meeting, Mr Hayes revealed that he had held talks with Rail Minister Claire Perry MP who promised to review Network Rail’s plans to see if the signal box could be kept intact.

Mr Hayes said: “The case I made to the minister was if this is happening in Deeping St James, it must be happening in other places as well.

“I totally support this campaign and I don’t want to see any historic structures destroyed, damaged and lost.

“If we don’t fight this, next time it will be something dearer (to our hearts) that we’ll lose.

“You have my support and I’ll take this (campaign) to the very top.”

 

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