The development of a new wildlife friendly station garden at Saxmundham station has received a boost thanks to additional financial support from East Suffolk District Council and Saxmundham Town Council.
The local councils have pledged the funding to help station adopters, Sally Ford and Deborah Dann, create a new garden as part of the station’s overall redevelopment after it was damaged by fire in 2018.
They will also receive help from award winning garden designer, Frederic Whyte, who has been commissioned by the town council to design a planting scheme for the borders at the front of the station on a ‘dutch urban’ theme.
Sally and Deborah plan to create wildflower areas elsewhere at the station, including a large area at the bottom of the car park. They plan to install a hedgehog house and use recycled wood to create refuges for insects and other small invertebrates, as well as putting up bird boxes.
Sally says, “We hope to achieve a mix of both wild and more formal areas with lots of flowers in both to encourage bees and butterflies and make the station really attractive and welcoming for the community.”
Sally has also crafted a tile from clay depicting Greater Anglia’s red hare mascot which will take pride of place in the garden once the work is complete.
The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership has also offered to purchase two new flower tubs for the station platforms.
Rail stations in East Anglia are increasingly becoming havens for local wildlife thanks to the efforts of volunteers who have transformed land the equivalent of five Olympic-sized swimming pools into thriving gardens.
Greater Anglia’s team of station adopters – who help to look after their rail stations for the benefit of their communities – increased the total area of station garden across the network by 14% last year and devoted much of it to creating wildlife friendly areas.
District Councillor John Fisher who contributed £248 from his community enabling budget said, “It is a real privilege to be supporting the work of the excellent volunteers who work so hard to improve the station.”
Town Councillor Tim Lock commented, “The Town Council were happy to pledge £600 of their Sax in Bloom budget for the innovative planting scheme which will make the new station a fantastic destination for people visiting the Town.”
Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said, “I can’t wait to see Sally and Deborah’s plans come to fruition and am pleased to be able to support them in their aims through our Station Adoption scheme.
“This is a lovely project that I’m sure the whole community will enjoy when they come to use the newly restored station.”
Works to rebuild the station building, after it was badly damaged by a fire in 2018, are progressing well.
Repairs to the roof are underway and most of it has now been tiled. Rebuilding the canopy has also started with steel works installed. The next stage of the project will see the timber frames being installed on the canopy.
As part of the project, platform 2 has also been resurfaced and fully refurbished with a new shelter and seating.