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Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
held on 20th April 2007

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee met from 7.07pm to 10:25pm. Charles Hudson was absent. Jan Kozminski was in attendance for the first item.

Bluebell Railway Trust: Jan Kozminski reported on the Trust's activities during 2006, which had met four times during the year. Trust income was £381k and it had spent £343k on restoration projects. Main items of expenditure had been restricted funds for the extension, re-purchase of P Class 1178, Brighton Atlantic, the S15 and Operation Undercover. Smaller projects included the replacement of the Peckham building in the C&W Yard, repair and relocation of the ex-SP yard crane to Kingscote. A full report will be made at the AGM.

Sunday P/Way gang: The Committee expressed its regret that the General Secretary had recorded and reported the comments made about the gang at the previous meeting. The comment was not regarded as significant and the key factors in refusing their application to the Trust were that maintenance was outside the Trust's remit and the lack of support for the proposal from the Infrastructure Trustee. It was felt that the summaries should only spin good news. The Chairman has met with the P/Way gang at Kingscote to discuss this matter and I have apologised to the P/Way gang for reporting what was said at the meeting.

Bluebell News: The Committee considered a request from Colin Tyson for Bluebell News to become a predominantly 'all colour' magazine. This would increase costs slightly by around 50p per copy. The Committee decided to refuse the request for the time being until a review of the costs of the Membership benefits had been carried out. A Director argued that the subscription barely covered the benefits and would not want the company to subsidise the Society. Another highlighted the cost to the company of giving the volunteers a discount on prepared food from catering.

Membership Matters: Membership numbers had crept up to 9,970 but are likely to drop back again at the end of April. A meeting was being held with the Assistant Membership Secretaries to discuss the processes that would be involved with collecting subscriptions via Direct Debit.

Society Finance: Subscription/donation income of £56k for the first quarter was still slightly down on 2005 (£59k). Transfers to the plc for the first quarter amounted to £55k.

Company Finance: Revenue was up to expectations and advance bookings had helped to ease the cash flow. The cash flow position remained very tight and tight control on expenditure was still needed.

Extension: A further draft contract had been received but there were a few points of contention. WSCC were refusing to concede on the disposal of waste water from their amenity site.

Society Archive: A proposal was put forward for an additional lean-to type building alongside the proposed storage shed at Sheffield Park and to the north of the proposed museum building. The building would house the Society archive and museum store as well as providing space for research. The Museum Management Committee would seek funding from the Trust and from outside sources to fund the fitting out of the building. A meeting had been held with Tim Preston (Project Manager for Operation Undercover) who was unaware of the Archive but was supportive and awaited a feasibility report. This support was not echoed by the Trustees who agreed that the proposal was too late to be included in the Operation Undercover proposals and that space wasn't available. There was no commercial benefit to the company in having the Society archive on site and it was suggested that this should be lodged with the County archive. This would require a full review of what constituted the archive and a new agreement between the Society and the Trust may be necessary.

Preservation Standards Committee: The Committee discussed the outline terms of reference for this sub-committee. Its remit will be to monitor all areas within the public gaze to ensure that new structures or installations are in keeping. There was also a need to link the terms of reference to the Society,s objectives and Long Term Plan. The Terms of Reference will continue to be developed. Operation Undercover: The Stage 2 application was delivered by the 31st March deadline. Tenders had been issued for the design contract and the bids were under consideration. We had to obtain planning consent by July. There was a lot to do in the meantime.

Applications for Trust Funding

1) Class 2 Project: The Class 2 Project was seeking Trust funding for the materials to extend the frame to accommodate the additional pony truck. No timescales were given and there was concern that the project would not make the progress that was suggested by the application. The Committee decided to remit the application back to the Project Team for definitive timescales to be produced.

2) C&W Viewing area: A more detailed proposal had now been submitted and Sam Bee had also discussed it from a Museum/Education perspective with the C&W staff concerned. It was argued that this should still await the development of the Interpretation Strategy and that more C&W tours would be more cost effective. There was still concern that this had not been discussed by the C&W staff (their AGM had been cancelled). Counter arguments were put forward that this was a project being put forward by the volunteers at little cost to the railway with the aim of improving visitor access to the works but this carried little weight with the main objectors. The Chairman decided that there was little point in discussing it further with so much negativity around the table and the meeting was terminated at 10:25pm.

Next Meeting: A Special Meeting was held on 17th May to discuss the extension. The next Committee meeting will be held on Friday 25th May.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary


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