Dismay over planned sale of old rail yard in Woodford Halse

Woodford Halse was once a key freight artery transporting goods across the country.
Woodford Halse was once a key freight artery transporting goods across the country.
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The site of the old railway yard in Woodford Halse is to be sold at auction next month, prompting dismay from residents.

For sale signs went up yesterday (Thursday) on the leafy 21 acre parcel of land off Byfield Road which runs through the heart of the village.

Above is a Youtube video describing Woodford Halse’s connection to the Great Central Railway (the video starts after 30 seconds and the relevant section is three minutes in).

Though it is now frequented by dog walkers and cyclists the area is of historical significance as it once formed part of the Great Central Railway line.

Now the brownfield site is being put on auction for £175,000 to £200,000. The website of auctioneers Howkins and Harrison describes the land as having “development potential”.

Posting on Facebook, Gaz Southall commented: “This is outrageous! We need a lottery winner to buy it and save it.

“Developing a field on the edge of the village is one thing but smack in the centre would disrupt too many residents. I seriously hope everyone helps stop this. Sell it by all means but keep it as a nature reserve or for something historical.”

Robert Adams added: “Some how we need to stop this development as they are saying there is between 22 to 26 acres of land for development.”

“There are people out there that can help us to keep this land as a heritage centre for the village. We need to get behind these people and make sure we have something for the future to remember the past.”

But Woodford Halse Railway Heritage Society has vowed to prevent the area from being sold off to developers and to set up a railway museum on part of the land.

Society chairman Paul Denison said he hopes to reach a deal with the land owners to get the site removed from the auction until the necessary funds can be raised to purchase the land.

He said: “We have been staggered by the support of people in the village. Our next steps are to consolidate the official trust and get the funds raised.”

“This land is a crucial part of Woodford Halse’s history. It would be a crying shame if it was lost. Local support will be valuable and hopefully people from the historical community will support us as well.”

Woodford Halse was once the centre of a thriving rail operation which at its height employed hundreds of people in its freight yard and organised the transportation of goods towards London and the west of England.

In 1960s the railway was axed as part of the Beeching reforms and now little remains of that once thriving industry.

The auction will be held on Tuesday April 28, 6.30pm at The Kilworth Springs Golf Club, North Kilworth.