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Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
held on 19th January 2007

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee met from 7.05pm to 10:30pm. All Trustees and Officers were present.

Membership Matters: Membership numbers edged up slightly to 9,858 but may fall slightly when the end January lapses are taken into account. The Committee discussed the changes in age profile of members over the last five years which showed a 10% increase in senior members and a 7% fall in adult members. Thus, whilst numbers are increasing, we are not recruiting and retaining young adults.

Finance: Society subscription/donation income for 2006 £127k (£115 in 2005), an increase of 14% for the year. The Society loaned the plc around £129k in 2006. Land Purchase donations amounted to £11,300.

Company Finance: Revenue was not as high as expected due to the fall-off in advance purchase sales during December. This, coupled with a number of unexpected invoices at the end of the year meant that we finished the year slightly below expectations.

Extension: The contract with WSCC for purchase of the tip was close to being ready for signature. A last minute hitch involved disposal of waste water from the amenity site which MSDC/WSCC had been draining into the cutting for years but we will require a licence from the Environment Agency for this to continue. Thanks were recorded to Chris White for his hard work in negotiating with WSCC and the Environment Agency. An application to the Railway Heritage Fund for financial assistance in rebuilding the south end ring on the viaduct had been refused. An application to extend the planning permission for Kingscote to be used as a terminus for a further three years had been submitted. The planning application for the station at East Grinstead would be submitted shortly.

Operation Undercover: The Committee were told that the project review from WS Atkins had been received but had not yet been discussed by the PLC Board. Projected costs had escalated significantly due to defects in the original proposal and the passage of time. A meeting would be held with the HLF as soon as possible to explore a way forward that would still achieve the overall aims of the project but at a lower cost.

West Hoathly Station Site: It was finally admitted that the information given by the Chairman to Committee members in September was inaccurate, though he believed it to be correct. It remains a complete mystery as to why those Directors who were present did not seek to correct the Chairman's statement when he made it.

C&W Rolling Stock Sub-committee: The Committee were pleased to note the minutes of the last three meetings. It noted the sub-committee's concerns about the under-resourcing of C&W Works staff but felt this was a matter for the company.

Applications to seek Trust Funding: The Committee approved requests to seek Trust funding for the costs of a replacement shed in exchange for an LCDR horsebox and associated road transport costs and for new doors locks for Coach 1520. The Committee refused to approve a request for the Trust to hold funds for the restoration of GWR wagon 87782 until more information about the reasons for restoring this vehicle and its context had been provided.

Publications: A request for the editor to purchase a laptop to assist with Bluebell News editorial meetings was refused. It was reported that the editorial committee are looking at the costs implications of making Bluebell News all colour and changing the format to A4. Questions were asked about progress with replacing the guide and stockbook as these were hopelessly out of date.

Volunteering: Mark Tudge had stood down as Volunteer Recruitment Co-ordinator due to personal commitments. He was thanked for his efforts. The new Volunteering leaflet had been published and the Volunteer Information packs were being revised. Volunteer Recruitment days would be held in April/May (now fixed for Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May).

Review of Long Term Plan: Eight members had submitted detailed comments and it was clear that a lot of thought had been put into these by the members concerned. The General Secretary would develop a discussion document from these submissions for the next meeting.

AGM 2007: The Notice of the AGM had been circulated with Bluebell News. Reminder: The closing date for motions for the AGM and for nominations for all the Officer posts, four Trustees and the two Society representatives to the Trust is 16th March 2007.

Next Meeting: The next Committee meeting will be held on Friday 16th March. A joint meeting with the plc would be held before that, subject to completion of the tip purchase, to discuss fund-raising, liabilities, etc for the next stage of the extension.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary

With apologies for the long delay in compiling these notes due to holiday, illness, railway duties and other commitments.


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