Town's traders will be hit by month-long railway station closure, chamber asserts
PUBLISHED: 17:08 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 13 February 2019
Easter trading is likely to be "severely impacted" by a £1m+ project to replace Sheringham's railway platform, according to the town's chamber.
Christopher Taylor, vice chairman of Sheringham Chamber of Trade, has criticised Greater Anglia for a lack of consultation over the project, which will see the station closed from Sunday 31 March to Sunday 5 May, with rail services replaced by buses.
Mr Taylor said: “Without any prior consultation with the local community and businesses Abellio East Anglia Limited have decided to set in train a programme works that is likely to severely impact Easter trading.
“As a chamber, we have to say that we are really disappointed that we were not consulted much earlier so that we could have canvassed views and ideas from our members and fed them back into the decision-making process.”
Mr Taylor questioned why the work could not have been done in January of February when things were quieter, but accepted winter cold and rain made construction more difficult then.
MORE: Seaside train station will shut for over a month as new platform rolls in
He also said the project, which is necessary to accommodate new ‘bi-mode’ trains which are coming this year, could have been done differently.
Mr Taylor said: “For example, would it not be possible, and economically viable, for an entirely new platform to be constructed on the southern, Tesco, side of the track so trains could continue to run using the existing platform whilst works are in progress?”
But the plans were welcomed by others, with mayor Madeline Ashcroft saying: “This will provide the impressive gateway Sheringham deserves.”
A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We consulted with North Norfolk Railway and the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership about the £1 million scheme. Unfortunately, we could not start the project any earlier and we want the station to be ready for the summer season and the new longer trains which are replacing our existing one or two carriage diesel trains from the middle of this year onwards.”
The spokesman said it was not possible to build on the Tesco side because: “There are land ownership issues and we would only have been able to build a narrow platform which would not have been accessible or easy to use for people with wheelchairs and pushchairs.
“We are very sorry to all passengers inconvenienced by this work, but we are sure the town will agree that ultimately a better station combined with state-of-the-art modern longer trains will provide an economic boost to Sheringham and north Norfolk.”