Masbury Appeal statement 30.9.2013
Members of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust and the New S&D met with the owner of Masbury Station recently in the light of the fact that the national Masbury Appeal income would be nowhere near the sum needed for its purchase. Whilst we did have alternative ideas such as redeemable bonds and timeshare opportunities, both Trusts recognised that this would take time to organise and that the owners had set the 30th September deadline for a reason. Whilst achieving over £80,000 is a superb response, it is clear that other competing calls on enthusiasts funds (with even more coming on stream over the next few months) will have had far more appeal than an isolated yet iconic S&D station.
The good news is that one of the Trust's members has come forward as a potential purchaser of the whole site and therefore negotiations have started with him and the current owner. None of the appeal money is involved in the purchase and therefore remains available for our joint potential involvement. Clearly until the sale is completed we cannot conclude with any certainty any negotiations with the new owner but what we are aware of is that he shares the current owner's vision for a working railway in the first instance towards Shepton Mallet and the first missing overbridge. This is where the funds we have raised could be assigned but there will be a considerable amount of negotiation that will be required. The Trust will be writing to every donor to see what they would like happen and how their donations may be able to help in that regard. In the meantime the appeal for purchase is closed but we may well be seeking future funding to help achieve joint aims. This does not alter the longer term potential to join Midsomer Norton with Masbury but we have always regarded that as taking anything up to 25 years to attain based upon experience on other heritage railways. Both Trusts and the potential owners would appreciate it if there was not speculation as to what may happen in the future with Masbury Station and our potential joint involvement until we are able to announce what is intended. That may well take until the December or later issues of the railway magazines before we have some idea as to the new owners intentions and aspirations and how we can fit in with them.