Sunday, 18 October 2015

October Plc Board Meeting

The Board held a further meeting last week, when a number of important issues were discussed.

We were told that we were to receive a proposal which would see the restoration of Standard Loco 76077, which currently languishes in pieces in the North Headshunt. The Board confirmed that it would be very pleased to see this project get underway, although it is appreciated that it is long-term one.

We have approved a formal policy for allowing visitors into non-public areas of the railway. We have to balance the wish for visitors to see 'behind the scenes', with the requirement to keep them safe, and not interrupt important work which is on-going. The policy is in the process of being circulated to all Head of Departments for implementation.

We heard about plans to progress the proposed new toilet block on P2 at Winchcombe, and the proposed new Elf Centre. It is very important that we try and ensure that the Elf Centre is constructed and open for Christmas next year. It would appear however, that HLF will not fund the construction of it, but may support the fit out. That is being pursued. We need to look elsewhere for funding for the actual building.

The proposed Share Offer for Spring next year is progressing, and Chris Bristow is having meetings with both lawyers and accountants. There are a number of statutory issues which have to be dealt with to make sure that we are compliant, and we agreed the necessary timetable for bringing it to a conclusion.We are hoping that our President Pete Waterman will be able to give us a good impetus to make a successful launch.

We have agreed to commit £5,000 to the complete redesign of our website. The current website has served us well, but is 'clunky', and times have moved on. The new website will have sections both for visiting public, and a separate section for volunteers. It will be configured so that it is easily accessible on all suitable electronic devices, which the current one is not.

We were told that 25% of Santa tickets are already sold, which is well up on a similar date last year.

The embankment between Evesham Road and Childswickham Road at Broadway has been investigated by means of a long reach digger cutting trenches in the embankment to check on the stability of it. We have found a 100 metre long historic slip filled with ash. We are awaiting details of what will need to be done to repair it, although it does not appear to affect the area of the proposed running line. To a certain extent, how much work we decide to do depends on how much land we need to clear for the car park, and how far we would want to cut into the embankment - or not. We await advice on that.

We agreed to proceed with the proposed Heads Of Department meeting on 30th January 2016 at Winchcombe as last year. Chris Sparks is developing that, and details will be circulated to all HOD's.

For some time we have been considering how best to develop our policy on working with disabled volunteers. 'Disability' does of course cover a vast number of different conditions; both physical and mental. We are very keen to support those who are disabled and want to volunteer, but we do of course have an overriding obligation to make sure that those who work in a particular area are safe, and that the work they are doing is suitable for them. Some areas of our work are clearly unsuitable for those with disabilities, but there are openings in other areas.

We are fortunate in that Philip Young is working very hard in handling these sensitive issues, and seeking to balance expectations with what is safe and practical. This is an area we need to keep constantly under review.

We heard that Sustrans is continuing to pursue its wish to open a cycleway between Cheltenham and the Racecourse station. We are keeping an open mind until we receive a firm proposal, but one thing we must be sure of is that there are no prejudicial legacy issues such as responsibility for on-going upkeep and maintenance.

Another very full meeting, which helped to further the continuing development of our railway.

Richard Johnson
Company Secretary & Director