Chairs Bulletin Number 1/2016

Chairs Bulletin Number 1/2016 – March 2016

A summary of the year’s events.

Over the last year the society has gone in leaps and bounds towards its goal.

The previous two years were very slow had with little to report and the constant delays in getting permission to start the renovation process of the Simplex Loco and the other bits and pieces related to it. Then the good news about the possible funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with the potential fund up to £115,000. We at that time had to find a match fund of £10,000 plus 750 person work days which will we start recording only when the Heritage Lottery Funding has been confirmed.

After many discussions with Natural England about access and ownership we ran into a further problem with the requirement of a lease of at least 25 years for us to be considered by the HLF within this scheme.

Several more discussions took place and with the support of Natural England it was concluded that if we are to complete our project then it would be necessary to purchase the equipment from Natural England. Several more emails later and had a couple of meetings culminated in a contract of sale for the equipment and a nominal price of £1 which clinched the deal and resolved all our problems to that point.

Then some further minor problems reared their heads. The first being the location of the old Scotts workshop and its very poor condition. An extensive inspection indicated that several thousands of pounds would be needed before we could start work on the building as it was unsafe and required many repairs and secondly the building itself was situated in the area under the control of East Yorkshire who have with very little funding opportunities available. We were again in a situation where progress could not be made.

A solution needed to be found. We may have been able to move the renovation operation towards the South Yorkshire side of the reserve which would have limited operation by virtue of access problems and working periods due to the nature and restrictions on the Thorne side of the reserve.

A solution was indeed achieved and with the aid of North Lincolnshire Council and the offer to accommodate us in old peat works site on the Crowle side of the moors. This is a very appropriate site and address for our purposes.

The plus side to this offer was the availability of an area which was outside any SSSI sites and gives us easier road access and a supported site for a new workshop. This together with the greater potential of added funding from wind turbines and support from North Lincolnshire Council was an offer we could not refuse.

I explained our situation to Natural England and although there was a disappointment that we needed to move sites. it was accepted and arrangements for us to move the machinery and all the other pieces of peat extraction off the site was agreed.

The movement off the site was achieved by the support of a local farmer Mr Will Mason who helped us to move most of the equipment off to a safe area on one of their farms, until we get the operation underway on the Crowle site.

The move of the equipment was no easy task and many photographs were taken at the time and support from members on the day made it an exciting day and satisfying operation and I wish at this point to thank all our members who assisted us on the day together with a recorded big thank you to Will Mason and Masons’ Farms for the use of their equipment and storage facilities at no cost to the society.

However we still have to move one last piece of winning equipment which I hope will be achieved as soon as possible. So if we shout for your help please try to respond as this piece of equipment is large and heavy and will be going straight onto the Peat Works Site.

Shortly after we had moved the equipment from the Thorne side one of our members William Coleman (Pictured together with Angus Townley above), who is now acting as our archivist discovered two Schoma Loco’s and power cars for sale in a dealer’s yard in Norfolk. We had several conversations with the dealer and with the very generous offer of purchase by North Lincolnshire Council we managed to establish funding to purchase them both together with two Slave units and we as a society managed to fund a scrap slave unit which belongs to the Schoma loco that is still in Scotts hands. We are now awaiting the erection of the Romney Barn to safely and securely keep them.

The Barn itself is proving to be a little more complex than we first thought.

The biggest problem was that a year ago new regulations came into force meaning that we needed planning permission and building regulations consent to proceed. Again North Lincolnshire Council are coming to our rescue as the original concrete pad was not thick enough or large enough. We are now in the process of having to have a geological survey done on a new section of our site together with bore holes to establish requirements for the new base of the Romney Barn. North Lincolnshire council have helped us by giving us a further £100,000 to help pay for the research and installation of a new foundation. It must be noted that North Lincolnshire Council new input of £100,000 is ringed fenced as will the Heritage Lottery Funding be if and when it finally arrives. It is targeted towards the building and includes funding for the base, electricity supply, woodchip burning hot air heating system. And a good quality information and training centre. We can thank Julie Reed one of our own members for her efforts in gaining this extra funding.

It will be a few weeks yet before we get confirmation or rejection of our charity status application; we live in hope.

A visit was made by myself and three other members of the society to discus details of moving the Schoma locos from Norfolk to Crowle. We are awaiting finalisation of the details and hope to get the locos to the Crowle Peat Works Site in the next couple on months.. Unfortunately I would have liked them to go straight into the Romney Barn but it looks like it will not be available in time and we will need to cover them and secure them as best we can. Whilst in Norfolk we took the opportunity to check the locos were in running order – both locos started without any problems despite not having been turned over for several months. Videos can be seen on You Tube –

Currently we are waiting for the bore holes and survey to be done I will keep you informed of further progress as I get to know more.

In conclusion:

The society now owns three locos, two of them complete with slave units purchased by North Lincolnshire Council, and numerous pieces of other equipment thanks to Nature England’s generosity .

The remaining Slave unit which is the mate to the last remaining Schoma (Still in Scotts Hands) is in need of heavy repair the society purchased this to save it from the scrapyard.

The funds to pay for the purchase of the Romney Barn are thanks to SSE (Wind farm fund and also act as our match funding for HLF) for their support and the aid of our fundraiser Julie Reed.

However like everything we have a lot more to do in 2016 including the new foundation for the barn.

We are still searching for suitable track and have a few leads we are following up including the aid of our friendly Norfolk dealer.

We should still be on target to erect the barn around the middle of 2016 when hopefully we will get a positive result from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

And Finally I wish to thank all the committee, trustees and members for their ongoing support and patience also a very big thank you to Mr Tim Allen and his team at North Lincolnshire Council for helping us to achieve our objectives.

We are getting there!,

M J Bailey

Mel Bailey (Chair )