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Deadlock on Gravel Bank derelict pumping station near Tilney St Lawrence which a Norwich farmer wants to turn into a museum



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Deadlock remains over a derelict Norfolk pumping station destined to be demolished and which a Norwich man is attempting to buy from the water authorities and turn into a museum.

Stephen Green, an engineer and farmer from Hellington, near Norwich, reputedly has the largest private collection of giant pumping machines in the country.

He has already failed once to purchase King’s Lynn Drainage Board’s former Gravel Bank pumping station (also known as Green Bank) at Tilney End, near Tilney St Lawrence, which is set to be demolished. However, officials say the site is unsafe and there is nothing of historical interest to protect.

Green Bank pumping station as seen from Gravel Bank Road. Photo: Stephen Green
Green Bank pumping station as seen from Gravel Bank Road. Photo: Stephen Green

Mr Green said negotiations ended ten years ago when he could not agree on a timeline about converting the site into a drainage museum; and under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 has asked to see the demolition decision.

He added: “The building will cost them £20,000 to knock it down. Why don’t they take some money off me? It’s still standing there, I was there on Sunday.”

An emailed reply to Jill Reece – who is writing a book about Mr Green’s collection called In the Presence of Power – came from Phil Camamile, chief executive of the Water Management Alliance, on Monday.

Stephen Green with an ex-fenland pumping engine he has saved. Photo: Stephen Green
Stephen Green with an ex-fenland pumping engine he has saved. Photo: Stephen Green

It said: “At our meeting on Friday, 20 January 2021, the (King’s Lynn Drainage) Board decided to stick to its decision to demolish the building for the following reasons:

“About 10 years ago Mr Green offered to buy the Board’s former Gravel Bank Pumping Station. After a long period of protracted negotiations which incurred significant legal costs, he pulled out. The building now presents a serious public safety hazard.

“English Heritage have previously inspected the building and its contents and have concluded that there is nothing of historical interest to protect through the application of its listing status.

“We have invited the Trustees of Prickwillow Drainage Museum near Ely to inspect the building and its contents, to take anything they might want from the building for their museum at Prickwillow, before it is demolished.”



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