Joint Statement from the Chairman of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust and the Directors of Exmoor Associates
There are a number of items of misinformation being circulated in various media concerning the Lynton and Barnstaple project and the relationship between the L&B Trust and Exmoor Associates. We would like to clarify the position in order to put to rest the corrosive misinformation that is being circulated which is harming the future of the project and undermining the efforts of everyone working hard to see the rebuilding of the entire Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.
Dealing first with the relationship between the L&BT and EA. Considerable activity has been going on behind the scenes to resolve the differences that existed between us. With the aid of mediators the current trustees are now more able to understand and appreciate the actions that were taken when the directors of EA were directors of the L&B. Time and ongoing liaison is repairing the rifts that have existed in the past and corporately we are working closely to secure the land and rights to extend the railway.
It should be remembered that the L&B Trust and the majority of its trustees are shareholders in EA and in some cases are founder members of EA and it is in all our interests to foster close and productive working arrangements.
With regard the speculation over the financial position of the L&BT much has been made over the loans made to the railway. Many of these loans are several years old and were made when funds were very tight in the early days by benefactors who have not made any request for repayment. However, in the absence of agreement under present accounting rules these have to be shown as being repayable within one year. It is a mark of the confidence in the project that no-one has yet asked for repayment.
The L&BT and EA are likely to remain separate entities for some time to come. The reason for this is that our two organisations have different, although complimentary, objectives. The L&BT continues to focus on the operation of the railway, its heritage and its reconstruction, initially to Blackmoor Gate, using some of the land that has already been acquired by EA. Meanwhile EA will continue to buy trackbed as and where it can and hold this in anticipation of future extensions. This demarcation of roles is agreed and respected by both our organisations.
L&BT has started the process of fundraising to acquire the remaining land between Killington Lane and Blackmoor Gate and to start the essential tortuous legal and administrative process involved in getting the consent to reconstruct the railway. We would both strongly urge you to support this in the confidence that we are working together to see the rebuilding of the railway with all the satisfaction this will bring all our supporters and benefits this will bring to Exmoor and North Devon.