TRADERS and residents have launched a campaign to stop a railway depot being built on the seafront.
The Save Our Seafront (SOS) campaign has been set up by people who object to a planning application for a new Hayling Seaside Railway depot at Eastoke.
They believe the depot will spoil the view and the land could become vulnerable to more development if it is given the go-ahead.
Clare Satchwell, from SOS, said: ‘We are not against the railway, we are against development of the seafront that is not in keeping with the street view that could set a precedent and open up the entire area for development.
‘The 16ft high and 80ft wide building will change the seafront substantially.
‘We would love to know the facts, such as how much tourism does the railway bring to the island? How essential to the economy is it? No one seems to really know.‘
‘It is staggering to believe that such a massive change to Hayling Island seafront could be approved without any research’
Carolynn Leedham of Mr T’s Arcade and Snack Bar said ‘Our family has had our business at Eastoke Corner since 1962 and it has been popular since I was a child.
‘Our customers enjoy looking over towards the beach whilst having a drink or food. If this went ahead they would be looking at an industrial building.’
But Bob Haddock, the founder and owner of the railway, says it will boost trade in the area.
He has been working with Havant Borough Council for two years to try and find a new location for the popular narrow gauge railway following confirmation that it’s current location at Funlands could be used for housing.
He says the new building will complement the surroundings.
He said: ‘We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The traders of Eastoke say they like the railway and support it, it’s just the depot they’re against.
‘We’re trying to make the design as nice as possible. It will be New England style with slate roof and horizontal dash boards in a light grey. All the detailing will be in white to make it pretty. It will be a seaside building.
‘We’ve been on the seafront 11 years and unfortunately we need to relocate from the funfair. We have 45,000 passengers a year. The council has identified this as the best place for the depot.’