Warnings that National Grid's East Anglia GREEN could spell the end for Bressingham Steam Museum and Garden
Plans to erect electricity across Norfolk and Suffolk could “seal the fate” of a beloved Bressingham tourist attraction, bosses have warned.
National Grid is currently holding a consultation on its ‘East Anglia GREEN’ project, which will see 50-metre-high pylons built along the A140, running between Bressingham and Roydon, towards its destination at Tilbury, on the Thames estuary.
Bressingham Steam Museum and Garden, which sits between Thetford and Diss, raised the concerns after discovering a “significant proportion” of the tourist attraction will sit under the proposed route.
Phillip Rooke, the museum curator, said its future could be in jeopardy as it would impact the most used attraction – two railway lines.
He said: “The proposed route of the pylons will cross two of the museum’s railways.
“There would be serious implications for the future sustainability of the museum if a pylon was to be erected directly on or next to our railway lines.
“We do not own the surrounding land and therefore would be unable to reroute the railways. These railways are an important part of steam preservation and Norfolk heritage.”
Peter Haward, events manager at Bressingham, added that the plans would lead to the railways having to be closed if the plans went
“The future of both these railways are now at risk,” said Haward.
“The implications of the building of the pylons and the significant effect on the railways and the museum as a whole cannot be understated.
“We do not own the land that lies beside the railway routes and therfore, any idea of re-routing the lines would be impossible.
“The lines would have to be closed, and as a result two of the main draws for the museum would be lost.
“In the longer term, this would lead to a drastic reduction in income, and ultimately could seal the fate of the museum.”
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National Grid bosses have said the plans are needed to cope with the amount of energy generated by wind power in the future.
The Fen Railway was built in 1966 and the Waveney Valley Railway was built in 1974 by museum founder Alan Bloom.
Mr Haward said: “These railways are an important part of the Norfolk tourist industry, as well as being a valuable part of steam preservation on a national scale.”
Even if the plans do not directly force the museum to close, bosses have warned it would still have a significant visual impact, putting off visitors who are needed to ensure the museum remains viable into the future.
Mr Rooke said the museum would work with neighbours in lobbying against the “disruptive, potentially disastrous scheme”.
A National Grid (NG) spokesman said the plans are needed to help meet government ambitions to connect up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 – enough green energy to power every home in the country.
The spokesperson said: “We are governed by a number of licences and regulatory obligations and we’ve been carrying out assessments and studies to find the most appropriate way to achieve this in East Anglia, and in other parts of the country. We feel these proposals best meet our obligations.”
The spokesman added the plans are still at an early stage and NG wants to work with communities and businesses to develop the project and encouraged people to take part in the consultation.
The museum’s concerns follow similar fears that gliding clubs in the area could be grounded by the scheme.