A railway museum which had been threatened with closure is now looking towards a brighter future as plans for an expanded museum, skills centre and car park have been given council support.
The Colne Valley Railway has been on its present site near Castle Hedingham for around 40 years.
Owned by a property developer based in Australia, it had operated on a succession of leases.
The owner gave The Colne Valley Railway Preservation Society, the registered charity which runs the site, notice last year as the railway no longer fitted in with plans to develop the site.
However, the developer later changed his mind, supporting the railway’s bid to remain alongside his development.
There are plans for the charity to buy the track and railway buildings.
The charity’s boost come as Braintree District Council’s planning committee has supported the Society’s plans by approving applications for a new car park and entrance facilities, skills centre and expanded museum.
Paul Lemon, chairman of the charity, said: “We are extremely pleased with this endorsement by Braintree District Council’s Planning Committee and are grateful for the hard work and help supplied by the Planning Officers. “We are near to completion with our plans to take the railway forward on a secure footing and expect to make a formal announcement soon.”
The Charity intends to develop the site as a social history museum explaining the development of the communities along the upper Colne Valley and the role the original railway played in this development.
This will include the retention of the existing demonstration railway and other facilities.
In 2014, the charity obtained a stage one pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the detailed plans including these planning applications in order to submit a full stage two application.