Funds to revamp Lumley Lodge at Skegness Train Station could be in jeopardy

Wednesday, 2pm: SUBSTANTIAL funding to develop a historical heritage site may be jeapardised due to conflicting plans for Skegness Railway Station.

Last month The Standard reported that funding was secured for the transformation of Lumley Lodge into a multi-purpose hub, promoting Skegness businesses and attractions and providing an internet cafe, bike hire and an alcohol-free environment for teenagers.

Alongside this development a 290,000 project organised by Network Rail and Lincolnshire County Council had been devised to improve the station.

Plans involved the relocation of taxi ranks, installation of wind breaks and landscaping, however to achieve these plans the demolition of the old 'dilapidated' buildings, was required.

Property developer, Mike Scallon, has been a key instigator in the plans to redevelop the lodge and feels LCC is needlessly blocking his plans.

He said: "I want to save the lodge - it's one of Skegness's most historic buildings and all LCC need to do is relocate the approach road to the taxi rank by two metres."

Mr Scallon says the 978,000 funding he had secured for the project is still available, with much of it coming from private investors including 30,000 of his own money as well as a 200,000 donation from DEFRA.

It would seem a great shame if such a large investment in to the heritage of Skegness was lost due to planning considerations for a taxi rank, however LCC claim the issue is with the supposed funding Mr Scallon claims to have secured.

Public transport strategy and development manager for LCC Anita Ruffle said: "Network Rail, the county council and East Midlands Trains have carefully considered Mr Scallon's proposals, but his plans were not considered viable."

"More importantly, despite his claims to have considerable financial backing, we've seen no evidence to suggest he would have the necessary funding to bring them to fruition."

"For this reason, we intend to progress with our original plan."

LCC also mention the plans to relocate the taxi rank would not be viable as 'the site does not offer alternative lines of alignment for any proposed roadway or taxi rank'.

Skegness attracts more than one million rail passengers every year and so the condition and effectiveness of the station is crucial to Skegness's future.

Mrs Ruffle said: "This is the gateway to the resort, so removing the dilapidated buildings - which are not fit for purpose - will offer significant benefits.

However Mr Scallon believes the lodge offers a crucial part of Skegness heritage as the entire town's emergence was only possible due to the original station and feels this is another instance of LCC taking Skengess's heritage away from its people.

He said: "LCC want to take all the heritage to Lincoln and leave Skegness as a bucket and spade tourist resort."

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