Museum: Presentation on future of museum and archive given by Sam Bee and Roger Cruse on behalf of the Museum Committee. Museum Committee not happy with proposals for linear display in Woodpax building as this would be vulnerable to water damage from carriage washing and smoke damage from engines. Decision taken that we did want to register the Museum and that we would explore whether the Bluebell Railway Trust was the best vehicle for this, given that the PLC itself could not be registered. Extent of archives or ownership of assets not fully known but this is being addressed. Acquisition and Disposal Policy to be formulated, using the Society objectives as a starting point. In the meantime, it was agreed that there would be no further disposals of Society assets until further notice.
Woodpax: Funds, including loans and gift aid, now up to £300k. Income from Standing Orders sufficient to repay loans on due dates. Mailshot to PLC shareholders sent out this week and appeal leaflet will be in next issue of Heritage Railway so this may provide further boost. Views on design and use of building to be obtained at Members Forum at the end of April (provisionally 26th). Planning constraints would prevent two storey building but may be scope for additional building on the land to the west of the main shed. Working Group formed to address the various needs and to report to Trustees meeting in April.
Finance: 2002 accounts with auditors. Income was up but so was expenditure, partly due to the work on the fire slip, though this was a worthwhile investment. Good start to 2003 but too early to predict trend. Magnificent response to the Woodpax appeal and it was now unlikely the company will have to bridge a funding gap. Preliminary works for the new shop (diversion of services) likely to start in May.
Extension: Meeting held at end of January with three experts to discuss tip options. Concluded that complete excavation is the best option and that we will need to secure funding from a variety of sources as Landfill Tax Credits unlikely to fund whole project. Need some big 'names' to attract funding.
East Grinstead: Misinformed coverage in the East Grinstead Courier claiming that Railway had abandoned the EG Project to concentrate on Woodpax. Report was based on a letter from a Society member to Roy Watts which had been faxed anonymously to the paper. Paper reported that Mid Sussex DC Councillors wanted to meet the author. (They have since changed their minds.) Excellent rebuttal of story by Barry Coward, the volunteer Press Officer.
Chairman declared a conflict of interest as the EG Observer's fund raising scheme was using Sainsbury's bank.
Hon Gen Secretary
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