209 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Winter 1997– Part 2
From the Board Room
David Bathurst – Chairman
In the autumn edition of Chasewater News I attempted to bring members right up-to-date on important matters affecting the Railway’s future. I also referred to the fact that the situation is developing almost by the minute. This article describes the most recent developments.
Lichfield District Council
Company representatives met a number of Lichfield DC Officers on 6th November 1997 to discuss some of the issues outlined in the autumn edition. The Council’s Officers represented the planning, leisure services and administrative arms of the local authority, all of which have an important role to play in the Railway’s future.
In particular, the agenda focused on the BNRR (M6 Toll) and the Burntwood Bypass and the implications of both schemes on the Railway’s viability and future development. The meeting also noted that the Company’s main lease expires in June 2000, although it contains an option to renew for a further 30 years.
The Council’s representatives shared the Railway’s view that there should be a single, composite lease, incorporating all the land which we are actually utilising or propose at some future date to utilise, and excluding any land surplus to our needs. This would include the site of the ‘new’ Brownhills West Station and all other relocated yards and other facilities, the deviation from our current lease where the trackbed is affected by the Burntwood Bypass roundabout, and our present extension to Chasetown (Church Street).
Birmingham Northern Relief Road (M6 Toll)
There has been some behind-the-scenes progress, with both Lichfield District Council and Midland Expressway Ltd appearing to recognise the increasing urgency in determining an alternative location for Brownhills West. Some proposals have been tabled for initial consideration both within the membership and with the BNRR promoters.
The compulsory purchase order for the bypass was made just a few days after the autumn edition was published and the Company has submitted a formal objection thereto. The next step is for the Staffordshire County Council to endeavour to reach a solution which will enable the Company to withdraw its objection, failing which the matter will have to be pursued at a public enquiry. The Board is hopeful that a public enquiry will be unnecessary (unless other owners have also submitted objections) and that the amended scheme which has been prepared by SCC can form the basis of a formal agreement.
Other matters have also appeared on the Board’s agenda and which will perhaps interest our members.
Kim Wilkins, the Railway’s Publicity Officer, gave a detailed presentation on a range of publicity ideas all designed to raise the Railway’s profile.
The Board has agreed to commission a range of postcards, badges and car stickers to enable our customers to take home a low-cost souvenir of their visit to Chasewater.
It has been agreed in principle to place an order with one of the motoring organisations for road signage around Chasewater on a trial basis.
The updated Policy Statement as revised in October 1997 was approved, with the Board recognising that references therein to the BNRR and the Burntwood Bypass might in reality have to be further updated on an almost weekly basis. When these matters have settled down, a copy of the Policy Statement will be issued to all members.
The Company’s policy towards and programme for the restoration and maintenance of its steam locomotives is to form the subject of a meeting of interested parties, with particular reference to the impending non-availability of ‘Asbestos’.
Lichfield District Council Leisure Services have been invited to join with the Company in the promotion of the 1998 rallies. The Council’s response is awaited.