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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Old Kent Biker, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Can I perhaps remind forum members that at Beddgelert, the 'new' WHR was not allowed to build new proper station facilities, and trains were not allowed to run to Beddgelert until the whole line to Porthmadoc was completed.

    I suspect that it will be a condition of any planning consent that Parracombe is not opened as a 'Halt' (and I expect conditions attached to it being a Halt only, and with no passing loop), until the line to Blackmoor Gate is operational.

    I dont blame the L&BR for going for what 'might' be possible, but perhaps they havent achieved anything as a result, and have only given a stick to Parracombe opposers in the process.

    I have some professional experience objecting to the re-instatement of a standard gauge line, when I acted for the owners of the station they bought in the late 1960's with absolutely no thought a steam railway would ever run again past their property 30 years later. I had to put my personal views to one side, and act in the clients' best interests. It was all very interesting, dealing with the Parliamentary Agents, and sorting out a set of conditions to what was then the LRO.

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  2. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Julian, having annoyed everyone on the WSRA thread, has now come on here to annoy us with speculation about the L&B team not having thought things through properly ;)
    I have confidence in the meticulous planning over many years of our team - let's wait and see what the planners have to say rather than being irritating again! :Morewaitingisrequired:
     
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  3. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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    Julian makes some good points. But as I understand it the intention is for the line to be rebuilt in one single phase, starting from Blackmoor Gate. The Trust is alive to the fact that Parracombe should not be used as a temporary terminus - the situation is analogous with that of the Swanage Railway, who were not able to use Corfe Castle as a temporary terminus and could only stop there once the facilities at Norden had been completed. That has worked well - although I seem to recall it brought the railway to the verge of bankrupcy in the interim. Like Parracombe, the roads of Corfe were unsuitable for any increase in traffic or parking. Corfe Castle is rather better set up as a tourist village than Parracombe, however.

    The sheds at Blackmoor Gate are not as big an issue as might be assumed through looking at the site plans. There is undoubtedly an impact on the open quality of the landscape, but existing trees and topography will serve to screen the sheds most effectively from the majority of public viewpoints.
     
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  4. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I seem to recall there is a very worthy project involving a 3-Cig for which Julian would have a directly relevant skill-set...:)

    Robin
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
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  5. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    Parracombe needs to be approached much more gently with minimal development beyond a single line. The L&B should forget the idea of a loop to be later removed - people have no faith in this sort of promise. A halt should be provided if the natives want one. They didn't want one at Nantmor on the WHR until the scheme was all approved and then they changed their minds. The suggestion of "7,000 HGV movements" can be dismissed; the railway was built from virgin countryside with no HGV movements and it can be restored with none (within the village). It my involve a harder way of working but it is possible.

    As for CPO speculation, the railway needs to buy every possible parcel as they become available, including offering a premium to those who profess not to want to sell to the railway. The test of whether a CPO under the TWA would be successful is basically whether the project is in the public interest and whether that interest is of a higher order than the loss of property rights of the existing owners. If the parcels required to be bought by CPO are open land that was formerly the railway right-of-way there would be a much stronger probability of success. If the railway required extra land and particularly if it required any residential property, that could be very sticky. Before applying for a TWA Order they need to have a convincing case that funding will be available, that they have made long and strenuous efforts to acquire the land by negotiation and that the project can be carried through to completion. By that I mean to Blackmoor Gate, they have rightfully not tried to bite off too much by going all the way to Barnstaple in one application.

    I was once involved in a multi-million pound urban road scheme. A CPO plan was prepared which, in line with convention, showed all the land in the Order coloured pink. It looked like a huge semi-circle around the city centre, quite a monstrous impact. I recognised the PR damaged of this and asked for a "parallel" plan to be prepared showing what really needed to be acquires from others. On this the CPO had a red boundary, existing highways were grey, non-highway land owned by the Council was yellow and land still to be required was pink. The result was that the pink shrank to around 10% of what it had been; we showed visually that we owned 90% of the land needed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
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  6. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Hi Robin,

    I've broad shoulders, so take your remark in jest, (though I have no interest whatsoever in old SR slam door stock).

    Fairview, Parracombe is on the market for I think £415,000. As far as I can make out, the re-instatement of the railway cuts across the driveway. Not sure what the position was when the house was built in 1911.

    I dont know what the position is with 'The Halt' bungalow, Parracombe.

    As mentioned previously, I dont know of a precedent for Parracombe in Railway preservation. Compulsary purchase powers can be applied for as part of a TWAO, but it is not certain they would always be granted, especially in the case of a railway providing no transport 'need' other than a tourist attraction. (Perhaps the legal niceties of this might form an interesting debate?)

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  7. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    "Fairview" has been on the market for some years,(listed @ 450,000 pds in 2013, currently 410,000 ) and was the subject of discussion on an earlier thread. The current owner seems to be a railway enthusiast judging by his large garden railway, which models that section of the L & B, set up in the cutting of the old trackbed.
    The owners have submitted two objections to the current proposal from which it appears that they believe the re-instatement of the line will physically impact upon the house itself. My understanding was that the new line would follow the old formation up to, and through, the Church Lane bridge before opening out to the new Halt area. As Fairview was built after the original line, I would have thought reinstatement of the track through the existing cutting would have relatively little impact. I cannot find the track proposal for this area in the planning application but perhaps somebody can confirm my understanding of that part of the development ?
    Reading the owners' objections suggests to me that they are finding themselves in something of a cleft stick and being elderly and not in good health are a little frightened of what the future might bring. Perhaps somebody from L&B/EA needs to sit down with them and gently go over the proposals and discuss their options ?
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
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  8. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Glad to hear it. I have always found that the ability to laugh at one's self is an essential feature of maintaining sanity...

    Kind regards

    Robin
     
  9. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Hi Dainton Banker,

    Yes, discussing these things in a sensible manner is the best approach. In the situation I once dealt with over 25 years ago, what was hostile opposition ended up after a decent face to face meeting with the preserved railway chairman and my clients and myself led to conditions attached to the LRO (it might have been via a memoranda) and withdrawal of opposition.

    I have read the Fairview objection in some detail. I agree some further info on what the situation was between 1911 and 1935 would be useful. Obviously quite a lot has changed since 1935.

    It is one thing to be a railway enthusiast (my clients above were in this category which was one reason why they bought an old station house) but it is quite another matter to have steam trains crossing your garden with punters able to peer into your windows and destroy what was for 30 years a property bought in a quiet secluded location with no prospect of the railway being re-instated for much of that time.

    Fairview is one problem property. There are plenty of others in Parracombe, some apparently very well organised and with ample funds to oppose the re-instatement.

    I can see the planning applications going to full scale inquiries, and an inquiry with the TWAO.

    This rather calls into question the viability of the extension if funds get exhausted on legal disputes.

    The WHR rebuilding was ultimately dependent on outside sourcing of grant funding.

    I havent seen any mention of anything like the help the WHR received re the L&BR plans for the extensions.

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  10. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Julian, but I made no mention of the situation between 1911 and 1935. It is clear that the house was built some time after the line and the two co-existed up to the closure of the railway. At some point after closure the cutting must have been sold to the owners of Fairview, presumably at the same time other parts of the trackbed were sold off. It doesn't really matter when as there is no dispute about current ownership.
    From what I can see, but I am happy to be corrected if wrong, the cutting is deep enough to hide the house from the view of passengers. After all the original owners would have been faced with the same possibility and would have designed their house and garden accordingly. It is not really comparable with an ex-Station at the same level as the track.

    Mike
     
  11. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    OK, so those are some of the obstacles to tackle.

    What are the solutions, in your view?

    Robin
     
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  12. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    The worst aspects of the speculation that was rife on the WSRA thread are showing up here. The L&B should have done this, the L&B needs to sit down and do that....
    I'm confident that the L&B team dealing with the planning permissions have thought all this through and have indeed been talking to people. The proposal for two houses is intended to replace the bungalow, and then add an affordable unit as per current guidelines. Maybe we could stop all the doom and gloom and just wait a while until we hear the results of the application????
     
  13. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    If anyone wants to buy Fairview, I'll happily manage it as a B&B. It's bound to make a killer profit in high season!
     
  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I never understand the 'doom and gloom' merchants.

    The nadir for the L&B was 1936, and look where we are today.

    Examples like the Welsh Highland and, forgive me, the recent return of the WSRA into sensible hands, show what can be achieved when folks of good sense get stuck in.

    Robin
     
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  15. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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    If I have managed to upload the file correctly, the image here is the second edition OS overlaid over a modern GIS map showing the position of Fairview (arrowed) relative to the railway. What was then a railway cutting is now the house's garden as far as the overbridge to the South.
     
  16. brmp201

    brmp201 Member

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    The L&B team have (of course) been in communication with all the landowners for many years. I did hear a rumour that the price being asked for Fairview (or maybe the Halt) was way beyond market value. I do find some of the comments in Mrs. Grob's objection to be highly objectionable! No doubt, these people are holding out for the best price they can get for their land.

    Let's not forget that the L&B Team have worked very closely over the past couple of years with Exmoor National Park Council Planning Department to ensure that the plans meet all the council's requirements. The plans have been developed by Arup (who have also produced the engineering design for HS2), who ought to know what they're doing.

    According to the Exmoor National Park Planning website, the target date for the decision is 4th May. Not too long to wait.
     
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  17. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Maybe they just don't want to live near a railway - not everyone does.
     
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  18. Beckford

    Beckford Guest

    Hear, hear! Let's not try to borrow tomorrow's (potential) problem today.
     
  19. Charobin

    Charobin New Member

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  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Ouch. Emotions definitely very high there - something that may be more important than hard facts in negotiations, though possibly not the planning process.
     

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