Buyers' plans to dismantle Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway signal end of sale
PLANS to sell off Cleethorpes' iconic miniature railway station have been derailed after would-be buyers said they would tear it down and move it to a "busier" seaside town.
Instead, it is full-steam ahead to create a trust made up of the many volunteers who already give up their time in dedication to Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway which attracts hundreds of people every day during the height of the season.
It was put on the market just two years ago for £700,000, but Mr Chris Shaw, owner of the tourist attraction and leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said deciding to take it off the market was easy as the sale was "never about money".
He said: "We have taken it off the market despite having quite a few people interesting in buying it, but we only said we would sell it if it was for the good of Cleethorpes, and it turned out it wouldn't be.
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"Cleethorpes does not have the reputation nationally but the equipment and the railway does, so everyone who wanted to buy it said they had plans to dismantle everything and move it to another, busier town.
"We weren't selling it for money, we were doing it because we didn't have the time anymore."
Mr Shaw claims a "well-known" businessman – the identity of which Mr Shaw would not disclose – also who offered to buy the attraction just so he could destroy it because he doesn't like the attraction – only to get "short shrift" from Mr Shaw and his wife, Debra.
The railway has been in the resort since 1948 and came into Mr Shaw's hands after he bought a year lease in 1990 for just £5,000.
Since then the attraction on Kings Road – which also has the Signal Box Inn, shop and museum – has grown in popularity and stature, and has won numerous awards.
It was put on the market in August 2010 after Mr Shaw's political career started taking off. Already leader of the local Labour party, he looked set to take over as leader of the council, a demanding role that would not make time for the railway.
Now Mr and Mrs Shaw are looking into creating a trust, either splitting the responsibility 50/50 between them and the railway volunteers or handing over sole responsibility to the volunteers.
He continued: "We are a long way off establishing the trust and how it will work but what we do know is that the railway is not going anywhere.
"If we establish a trust to take it on, the volunteers, who already give up their time, will get a lot out of running a trust but we need to make sure it will work.
"The railway has been in the town 65 years, there is no way it was going anywhere else so it wasn't a hard decision to make."
How the trust will work is likely to be determined in a month.