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Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
held on 16th March 2007

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee met from 7.02pm to 10:15pm. Roger Cruse was absent.

Membership Matters: Membership numbers were virtually static at 9,855 but this was not unexpected as the January lapsed memberships had now been taken into account.

Finance: Society subscription/donation income for first two months of 2007 was £43k (£46k in 2006). Society costs for 2006 were higher at £14k (£10k in 2005) mainly due to printing and related costs and more accurate allocation of costs. There was concern that little progress was being made on Direct Debits and those involved were reminded that the AGM would expect definite progress.

Company Finance: The cash flow position remains very tight (as is usual for this time of the year) and everyone was urged not to incur expenditure until after Easter. The 2006 accounts were with the auditors. Extension: The contract with WSCC for was still not ready for signature, mainly because of issues relating to the disposal of waste water from the amenity site which drains into the cutting.

Operation Undercover: The Committee were shown the revised plans for the storage shed and interpretation area. The new storage shed will be contained wholly within the existing concrete slab, so avoiding problems with the Environment Agency on infringement of the river bank. It would not be open to the public. A second building, incorporating the existing museum building which will be underpinned and rebuilt, and the interpretation area extended. A new toilet block would be built. Making these changes kept the project costs within the original estimates. As part of this scheme a new two road shed (including a washout pit) will be built on the site of the old shed/loco lobby. A vote of thanks was recorded to Tim Preston who has done a magnificent job in achieving a turn-round of the project. It was expected that the Stage 2 application would be submitted to HLF by the end of March

Applications to seek Trust Funding: As part of the Operation Undercover proposal, the Committee approved an application to seek Trust funding for those elements of the project which fall within the Trust's remit. This would include design of the new building and interpretation area, temporary storage of the existing exhibits, construction of the new building and displays and development of the interpretation strategy.

The Committee noted an application to seek Trust funding for an extension of the C&W viewing area and for an audio-visual display but could not support this at this time. It was felt that it would be better to await a fully detailed proposal and the outcome of the C&W AGM, as there appeared to be diverging views within the C&W on the merits or otherwise of this proposal. The emerging Interpretation Strategy would also have an impact on this proposal.

The Committee also rejected an application from the Sunday P/Way gang to seek match funding for replacement tools. The Committee felt that this fell under the Company's maintenance banner for which the Trust could not provide assistance. It was also reported to the Committee that the gang did not have a good track record for looking after equipment.

Volunteering: Mike Gibbard had offered to take on the role of Volunteer Recruitment Co-ordinator and had made a good start.

Review of Long Term Plan:    The Committee approved the recommendations for revision of the Long Term Plan which would see a slight restructuring. The Plan would also move to a five year revision cycle with reports on progress being made at the AGM. It was also noted that only eight members responded with comments but noted where possible that they have been incorporated into the new design. The Committee thanked the General Secretary for collating and presenting a much improved document.

Infrastructure sub-committee: The minutes of the first meeting were noted and Chris Cooper was congratulated in getting this sub-committee off the ground. It was noted that the Infrastructure Director and his Managers were absent from the meeting. This is a breach of the Society's rules and of the Terms of Reference for this Committee. The Committee noted with concern that the Managers had been instructed not to attend and would seek clarification.

Retail sub-committee: The minutes of the last two meetings were noted.

SPAR sub-committee: The minutes of the last two meetings were noted.

Friends of Kingscote accounts: The accounts for 2006 were noted and the Committee thanked FoK for what they had achieved during the year with limited personnel.

AGM 2007: No motions had been received by the closing date for debate the AGM. An election would be held for Trustees as there were six candidates for four posts. It was noted that Sam Bee had decided (after the formal notice had been circulated) that he would stand for Vice-Chairman. All Officers had been nominated unopposed.

Next Meeting: The next Committee meeting will be held on Friday 20th April.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary


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