A SEASIDE railway is to stay after councillors voted through plans to secure its future last night.
Plans for a new depot for Hayling Seaside Railway were approved by Havant Borough Council’s planning committee – bringing to an end a long-running saga over where the building would be located.
Bob Haddock, railway owner, warned councillors the railway would close at the end of the year if the depot plans were not approved.
The depot is currently at the funfair, but the lease expires at the end of year and will not be renewed. The new depot will include storage for locomotives and a shop, and be based at Eastoke Corner.
But some traders were against the location of the depot.
Clare Satchwell, whose family runs The Terracotta Pot shop, said Eastoke had transformed itself into a thriving hub and the depot was in danger of being ‘somewhat industrial’.
‘The main reason people visit Hayling Island is the beach,’ she said.
‘The planned building is excessively large.’
Hayling Cllr Leah Turner, who sits on the committee, said: ‘The building is too big. I think it would take up too much of that part of the car park.’
But Cllr David Keast, on the committee, said the railway and the tourism it brings were vital to Hayling.
‘To lose it would be unthinkable,’ he said.
‘It’s got to something that is well worth preserving.’
Cllr Richard Galloway said rather than losing trade, shopkeepers stood to lose more if the railway closed.
Cllr Elaine Shimbart, chairwoman, said: ‘Heaven forbid we should lose this railway.’
The plans were approved by five votes, with one against.
After the meeting, Mr Haddock said: ‘It’s fantastic. We must work with all the people at Eastoke Corner and live in harmony.’