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Villagers fight to save Deeping St James signal box

Deeping St James signal box demolition protest 
Protestors at the box - front is Richard Brader and Katherine Claire EMN-140508-104034001

Deeping St James signal box demolition protest Protestors at the box - front is Richard Brader and Katherine Claire EMN-140508-104034001

Villagers have launched a campaign to save a railway signal box that faces demolition as a level crossing is upgraded.

Network Rail is replacing the manned gates in Station Road, Deeping St James, with automatic barriers.

As part of the work, the company says it needs to demolish the 1850s signal box.

People living near the crossing were outraged when they learned of the plans and decided to fight to save the signal box. They say it is a landmark for the village and, while the building itself is not unique, it carries the only remaining sign with the original name of the village, St James Deeping.

Campaigners Stuart and Lynda Hall, who live in Station Road, said: “Network Rail says it can’t be saved but we don’t see why it can’t be used as a Deepings heritage centre as there would be enough volunteers to run it.

“We’ve had to fight to save the library and now Network Rail is trying to remove something else purely because they would find it convenient to have it out of the way.”

Online and paper petitions have been launched, with more than 160 signing up at www.change.org/petitions/karen-clare-save-deeping-st-james-signal-box so far. The petition is still open.

Letters of support have also been received from Deepings MP John Hayes and even Prince Charles.

A Network Rail spokesman said the company was “very much aware” of the strength of feeling in the Deepings.

They added: “On July 10 this year, there was a site meeting at St James Deeping signal box, with parish councillors and a number of residents, to discuss this issue. At this meeting, the possibility of preserving additional materials from the signal box was discussed and a proposal has been submitted to the council.

“We remain in contact with members of the parish council and residents about the signal box’s future.”

 

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