Published: 6th November 2013
The Bodmin And Wenford Railway is pleased to announce the signing of a new lease on its 6.5 mile trackbed with Cornwall Council. For the last 27 years the Railway has operated on a temporary lease, renewable every five years. This was originally with North Cornwall District Council and was transferred to the unitary authority, Cornwall Council, upon its inception three years ago. A temporary lease was clearly an unsatisfactory arrangement for a developing heritage railway. After a lengthy period of thorough and painstaking negotiations, spearheaded by Keith Searle (Chairman of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway Trust and formerly the Railway's first General Manager), the B&WR now has a 35 year lease at a sum of GBP 9,750 per annum.
This is a significant milestone in the history of the Duchy's premier steam railway. We can now focus on future developments. Security of tenure will allow access to grants, and will provide greater incentives for investment. It will permit co-operation with national network operators, and ties in with Cornwall Council's plans for better "connectivity" and the development of Bodmin itself. The volunteers of the B&WR have already made huge strides over the last 25 years in creating one of Cornwall's major tourist attractions. The next quarter of a century promises to be an equally interesting period of development.
We wish to acknowledge the unstinting efforts of Sproull Solicitors and Charterwood Surveyors, without whom the lease would still be unsigned.