Severn Valley Railway unveils fresh plans for new Bridgnorth turntable

Severn Valley Railway has revised plans to build a new Bridgnorth locomotive turntable as part of a major development programme.

Severn Valley Railway's Bridgnorth station
Severn Valley Railway's Bridgnorth station

Town council planners have welcomed the move, but have said efforts should be made to save an old oak tree from being chopped down to make space for the re-design of the visitor attraction.

Railway trust bosses have lodged a revised planning application to Shropshire Council for the turntable project at the Station Lane heritage site.

Castle ward representative Councillor Dave Cooper told Bridgnorth Town Council's planning committee there were issues with creating a replacement bund at the proposed spot near to Hanbury Cottage, near to the tree.

Councillor Cooper said: "This plan came to us previously, but before we could comment on it, they withdrew it. They have amended it by making the bund around the turntable steeper so that it won't affect it.

"There are also issues with removing quite a substantial old oak tree. There is no explanation as to why."

Planning committee chairman Councillor Jean Onions said: "I'm in favour of coppicing trees. If it's not necessary to chop it down they should trim it back instead."

Councillor Cooper replied: "The tree is very old. SVR need the turntable to develop the site. I think we should approve of the scheme in principle with the condition that the trust explains why the tree needs to go."

The members agreed.

Sensitive sites

A SVR design statement in the planning report said that the previous application was withdrawn last autumn after the county's planning office raised concerns about the "impact of of the turntable on potentially sensitive archaeological sites within the lower section of the fields". As a result the turntable was re-sited to the south and the field slopes steepened with reinforced earth techniques.

It further stated: "The works will also entail slight relocation of some of the retaining walls around Hanbury Cottage. These will be constructed in reinforced concrete, but clad from reclaimed bricks taken from the existing retaining wall.

"As part of the proposals a reclaimed Great Western Railway standard yard lamp will be positioned adjacent to the turntable to provide additional authenticity to the scene. a water column will also be relocated as part of the works to facilitate the operation of the railway."

The plan is part the second phase of a £5 million investment effort to give the station a facelift by improving facilities for tourists and bring it up to the same standard as its Kidderminster station, including new toilets, a cafe and platform extension work.

The renovation of the turntable will be carried out in conjunction with its owners, the Turntable Fund. A contract for the pit has not yet been awarded due to the current planning issue and unknown costs.

Consultation on the plans ends on April 13.

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