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Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
held on 17th November 2006

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee met from 7:30pm to 9.45pm. Nicholas Pryor was absent but submitted a written report. Chris White attended for part of the meeting to update the Committee on the proposed East Grinstead Station and on extension progress.

Membership Matters: Membership numbers increased to 9,828.

Finance: Society subscription/donation income for the first ten months amounted to just under £120k (£105 in 2005), an increase of 14%. The Society has loaned the plc around £122k so far this year. The Committee approved in principle to continue to loan subscription income to the company in 2007.

Company Finance: The Committee heard that the very successful Giants of Steam and Terrier Weekends had produced a significant boost in income and provided expenditure was contained, we should finish the year in surplus. Both the shop and catering trading results had improved, with tight controls being kept on stock in hand, and should result in a much improved net profit and the end of the year. The Committee was told that the company was appreciative of the efforts by volunteers to keep the railway going through the year and in organising special events.

Woodpax: The Committee was pleased to hear that Atkins had been appointed, with the approval of the HLF, to conduct an immediate review of the project including the design and costings and to produce a forward plan by the New Year. A very successful meeting was held earlier in the day with Atkins and the HLF. Tim Preston from the C&W has been appointed Project Manager. The HLF remain very supportive of the project and are keen to see it completed.

Requests to the Trust: The Trust had refused to assist with the purchase of the lathe for the Loco Works as it was outside its remit. The Charity Commissioners and HM Revenue and Customs are clamping down on grants from charitable trusts to trading companies and this is making it more difficult for the Trust to assist with certain company led projects.

Wheel Lathe: The South Devon Railway acquired the former Eastleigh works wheel lathe and are doing work for other railways, including Bluebell. Our own wheel lathe (ex St Blazey) has never been used and the Committee agreed that this should be offered up for disposal, to be removed at no expense to the railway. This will allow for eventual northwards expansion of the Loco Works.

Letter from Working Members: The Chairman informed the Committee the response will be published in the next Points & Crossings. It was suggested that the response should be circulated to the Committee before it is published.

East Grinstead Station: The Committee were shown plans of the proposed station comprising a seven coach single face platform, a 'traditional' canopy and a 'generic' station building under the canopy, not representative of any particular era (think Hornby). The building will include a ticket office, staff room, toilets (ladies, gents and disabled), retail, refreshments and a waiting room. Estimated cost (if the entire station is built by contractors) is £500k. Modern materials will be used to try and deter vandalism. We have an agreement in principle with Network Rail and the local authorities to participate in the joint station should this ever come to fruition.

Extension: It was expected that spoil clearance south of the bridge would be finished in 2-3 weeks, subject to the weather. It was hoped that the agreement with WSCC for the tip purchase would be complete by the end of the year or early next year. We also have to take out specialised insurance to cover liabilities for possible contamination of water courses during removal of the tip and for ten years after complete removal of the tip. There is also an issue of waste water from the WSCC Amenity site, which currently discharges into the cutting. WSCC plan to expand this site which would lead to increased and significant flows.

West Hoathly Station Site: Following on from the discussion at the previous meeting, the Directors maintain there is no intention to seek housing on the west side of the West Hoathly site nor have they applied for planning permission to do so. The purpose of the application was simply to include the site in the village envelope so as to allow a station to be built in the future. The company's submission to Mid Sussex District Council can be found on the MSDC website (as a pdf)

AGM 2007: All Society Officers, four Trustees (Tim Baker, Sam Bee, David Foale and David Tutt) and the two Society representatives to the Trust (Jan Kozminski and Richard Salmon) fall due for election in 2007. Roger Cruse (Vice Chairman) and David Tutt have said that they will not seek re-election.


Gavin Bennett
General Secretary


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