Saved by a judge: Historic Victorian station with a military history and a setting for “Dad’s Army”

Historic Brandon Station dating from 1845, built by a notable Victorian architect and now listed following the judgement.

Judicial review saves 175 year old station from ” unlawful” demolition by privatised rail company for a car park

When Save Britain’s Heritage appeared before Mrs Justice Lang to argue the case for saving Brandon Station it was almost a lost cause.

Breckland Council in Norfolk had already given the owners Greater Anglian railways the go ahead to demolish the booking hall that had been empty and boarded up for 16 years so they could create a 100 space car park for commuters to Norwich, Cambridge and Ely. The scheme would have cost £1m and was accepted by the Railway Heritage Trust.

The station on the Norfolk /Suffolk border is becoming busier as more rail services are introduced. The town itself is a mixture of historic flint buildings and sprawling estates and has strong military connections because of the nearby Lakenheath and Mildenhall air bases.

unlawful development certificate

But when the judge started examining the case she found the development certificate issued by the council was unlawful because the scheme appeared to encroach on land not owned by the private rail company because of irregularities in the boundaries of the site.

She was not impressed by the council granting permission while the building was being considered for listing. It has since been listed.

The railway station building is constructed of local knapped flint, gault brick and slate to a design by Victorian architect John Thomas in 1845. Mr Thomas had Parliamentary connections as he who was appointed the superintendent of stone-carving at the Palace of Westminster by Sir Charles Barry. when Parliament was rebuilt. He was also commissioned by Prince Albert for stone carving work at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Royal visit to Brandon: Pic Credit D Norton via Save Britain’s Heritage

Local people have archive coverage of a Royal visit by King George VI and the Queen Mum to Brandon station in the second world war. There is a website by Darren Norton about both world wars here.

There were also many foreign troops stationed there. Here is a picture of Polish troops in 1946.

Units of the Polish 2nd Corps arriving at Brandon Station in 1946. Photo: Victor Lukaniuk,locaL councillor

Also the station and the town of Brandon were used for an episode of the iconic BBC series Dad’s Army. See here.

Marcus Binney, executive president of SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: “This shows that determination, persistence and resourcefulness can bring back historic buildings on death row. We have already commissioned plans by the architect Doug Reid, obtained initial costs from builders, and will now be working with the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust on raising finance.”

The most recent press release from them is here.

The aim is to restore the buildings as local business units with a cafe to encourage new start ups in the area.

11 thoughts on “Saved by a judge: Historic Victorian station with a military history and a setting for “Dad’s Army”

  1. Pingback: Saved by a judge: Historic Victorian station with a military history and a setting for “Dad’s Army” | Westminster Confidential | First Night History

  2. My brief comment (agreeing with ‘Frances’ was not accepted David, so have copied to Facebook.

    Regards

    Barbara

    On Sat, 24 Oct 2020 at 15:04, Westminster Confidential wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” Historic Brandon Station dating from 1845, built by > a notable Victorian architect and now listed following the judgement. > Judicial review saves 175 year old station from ” unlawful” demolition by > privatised rail company for a car park When Save Bri” >

    Like

  3. Are Councils merely ignorant of the facts when they make such decisions, or is it they are so starved of money they’ll sell anything (even when its not there’s)? I’ve seen similar situations played out again and again

    Like

  4. Breckland Council is in Norfolk, on the border of Suffolk. Brandon is normally covered by Forest Heath District Council. Was it definitely Breckland? it wouldn’t surprise me as in my experience their planning department are inept at best

    Like

    • Stephen,
      Absolutely no question it was Breckland Council. Here’s the local paper’s coverage when they took the decision -https://www.thetfordandbrandontimes.co.uk/news/greater-anglia-s-decision-to-demolish-brandon-s-historic-building-1-6664210
      You are right it is very much on the border as I have driven through the town a number of times on my way to North Norfolk.

      Like

      • Thank you, the article indicates Breckland Council is in Suffolk which is why I questioned it. Great article and the actions of that Council do not surprise me.

        Like

      • Thanks Stephen for pointing out my error. I have changed the blog to say Norfolk. Confusion partly caused by some of the organisations fighting the demolition were from Suffolk!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.