Internal Communication - not for publication
The Committee met from 7:20pm until 10:45pm. Jan Kozminski was in attendance and Chris White attended for the first part of the meeting.
Infrastructure Issues: A number of items were discussed under this banner and plans presented for Society approval, as follows:
- Ticket Printing Hut: the design for the pitched roofed building, to be placed in the garden at Sheffield Park, was approved. Planning permission will now be sought and the Society to seek funding as part of Operation Undercover.
- Party Traffic Entrance: the plans for this, utilising the ironwork from the Waterloo Luggage Hall, were approved. No funds were available for this at present but it may be possible to do this work in-house.
- Ketches Halt: It was agreed that the halt could be dismantled and the parts used at East Grinstead.
- HK S&T Depot: The relocation of the proposed depot to the old salt yard was approved. There would be no domestic services in the short to medium term so the mess room would remain where it is. This was consistent with Chris White's plan to co-locate the S&T and P/Way Depts in the salt yard.
- Former Mitcham Footbridge: As the railway had no immediate use for this, it was agreed that it could be disposed of to another Heritage Railway.
- HK Amenity Area (triangle) : The Committee were updated on the plans for completion of this project.
- Ardingly Branch: A report on a recent inspection of the trackbed was made. The formation is wet and muddy with several missing catch pit covers and unofficial access and ingress. Our land agent has been asked to sort out the ingress. Local planners want a feasibility study before they will consider any proposal to reinstate the railway.
- West Hoathly Development: The meeting agreed plans to seek planning permission for a small housing development, which would include a platform, on the West Hoathly station site. There was concern that we should not exclude scope for a potential siding giving access to the brickworks should it ever become a landfill site. It was also felt that this should be linked to providing a visitor attraction elsewhere on the site that could be open all year round.
- East Grinstead Station: Outline plans for a water tower at East Grinstead were agreed and building regs approval would be sought. It was also reported that work on the platform would commence in March. The Friends of Kingscote were repairing the Bluebell sign at East Grinstead. Network Rail had tabled proposals for a new modular station for their own services and they were not proposing a joint station.
- Other Infrastructure matters: Assurance was sought that the Newick walkway would be completed to allow Guards and Carriage Cleaners full access to compartment stock berthed in the siding. Access to the sleeping cars would also be completed, now that they had been placed in their final positions. Trustees also agreed to the disposal of the semi derelict Wickham Car to a private individual. The fences in the riverside picnic area would be repaired and an unstable tree removed before the summer, allowing this area to be fully re-opened up for our visitors.
Ashford Weigh Tables: Further investigation of company records had not revealed any agreement to house these and it was agreed that they should be removed from our site.
Membership: Membership numbers at 30 January were 10,139 though there were a lot of renewals outstanding and we could expect a significant drop. 453 Direct Debit subscriptions had now been successfully processed with a further 148 set up for 1st payment and a further 55 awaiting verification. Quite a few members had taken advantage of the option to pay for five years at the old rate before the subscriptions increased. This gave us a cash boost but its effect will be felt over the next few years. A new format for Membership Cards, for those paying by Direct Debit, was approved, allowing these to be produced from the database, thus saving time and effort and at a lower cost.
Society Finance: Subscription income for 2008 amounted to £135k well ahead of that for 2007. In addition receipts into the Land Purchase Fund amount to £10.5k. Cash transfers to the plc in 2008 amounted to £135k with a further £11.6k from the Land Purchase Fund. The Society had converted £500k of its loan to the company into shares. 112 applications had been received for the Deferred Share Scheme with of total commitment of £42k of which £35k will be received in 2009.
After many years of service, Tony Sullivan had retired from the responsibility for the Land Purchase Fund and Deferred Share Scheme and the Society Committee recorded its thanks to Tony for all that he had done.
4 VEP 3417: A very successful event had been held at East Grinstead for the arrival of the 4 VEP with over 700 visitors to the site. Bruce Knights of Knights Rail Services at Eastleigh had that day made a formal offer to give the unit secure and dry accommodation at Eastleigh and the Society Committee had given its approval to this, allowing the unit to leave East Grinstead on Thursday 22nd January.
7F 53809: A letter of thanks had been received from the owners for returning the engine to them in a clean condition, clearly having been well looked after. The assistance they had received from both engineering and operating staff was first rate and Bluebell ranks as one of the best railways they have visited in 28 years.
Applications for Trust Funding: The Committee approved a request for the repair to Brighton Bogie First 7598 to be referred to the Trust as an anonymous offer had been made fund the repair via the Trust. It rejected a proposal for a feasibility enquiry and possible request to the Trust for financial support to acquire an SR Lowmac on the grounds that we did not have sufficient siding space for further wagons.
Diesel Special: The Committee was told that the company had decided to run a one-off passenger special with the Class 73 whilst it was here so as to raise funds for the extension. This was presented as a fait accompli and concern was voiced objecting to this approach.
Youth Protection: Departmental heads had been asked to provide a list of staff who may require an enhanced disclosure from the CRB.
P Class 178 livery: The Committee approved a proposal that this loco should be turned out as 'Bluebell'. It was noted that, contrary to the view that had been provided to the Committee, the proposal did not have the full explicit support of the restoring group.
Award for HK Canopy Team: The Committee were pleased to note that HK Canopy team had received a runner up award in the National Railway Heritage Awards for the reconstruction of the buildings and canopy on Platform 1 & 2. It was noted that the Team had been placed in a category against significantly larger national projects and had done well in the circumstances.
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