Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not here, or if you want to get in touch with us, please contact us directly.

 

What benefits are to be had by becoming an EA shareholder?
Is there a minimum number shares I must buy in order to become an EA shareholder?
What is the ‘Shareholders’ agreement’?
Is Exmoor Associates a charity – and may I claim Gift Aid on any donations?
What is the difference between a Public Limited Company and a Private Limited Company?
May Exmoor Associates offer its shares to the public?
Where on the website is there a share application form?
Does EA pay a dividend on shares held?
Do the directors of EA draw any sort of salary or payment?
Are all EA directors also members of the L&B Trust?
I thought EA was just about land purchase? Where has the money to restore Snapper come from?
What is happening with the EA land at Parracombe?
What will happen to EA, and the shares issued, once the L&B is fully open?
Has EA paid above market value for land or trackbed?
Does EA derive an income from the land it owns?
How much trackbed does EA own?
Why do we bother buying land in the Yeo Valley when it is so far from Woody Bay?
It is highly unlikely we will see this stretch being used in our lifetime – why buy it?
Why does EA focus on buying trackbed in the south half of the route?
Why have EA when the L&B can later just compulsory purchase all the land it needs?
Does EA plan to build its own rival railway elsewhere along the route?
Surely money being put into EA is taking money away from extending the L&B?
Do you have elections of directors?
But I am not happy that EA’s directors are effectively self appointed?
Are the directors answerable to anyone?
Why does EA not respond to questions on forums?
Is the land completely secure?
Who owns Chelfham Viaduct?
How can I become a shareholder or buy more shares?


What benefits are to be had by becoming an EA shareholder?

You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you own a small part of actual Lynton & Barnstaple Railway trackbed. You will get sent the latest issues of the company’s newsletter, Trackbed Trails, and be entitled to attend and vote at company meetings.
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Is there a minimum number shares I must buy in order to become an EA shareholder?

The minimum number of shares one must hold before a share certificate is issued, is one hundred £1 shares; it is of course quite in order to buy in excess of a hundred shares, but for simplicity’s sake they should be in multiples of a hundred. You may add to your holding at any time, again in multiples of a hundred shares; a new share certificate will be issued for any new shares bought.
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What is the ‘Shareholders’ agreement’?

It is an agreement, which all EA shareholders are required to sign, which limits the use of EA owned trackbed for eventual railway use. It would prevent, say, a group of EA shareholders getting together and attempting to sell off EA land to a property developer or other third party. You can view the shareholders’ agreement here.
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Is Exmoor Associates a charity – and may I claim Gift Aid on any donations?

No. We are a Private Limited Company.
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What is the difference between a Public Limited Company and a Private Limited Company?

Many Public Limited Companies started out as Private Limited Companies. As they grew, the need for extra investment lead to them becoming Public Limited Companies. This means that they are traded on the Stock exchange, and have ‘PLC’ at the end of the company title.
Exmoor Associates, being a Private Limited Company, has simply ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ at the end of its title.
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May Exmoor Associates offer its shares to the public?

No; legislation prevents this. We may only offer them privately.
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Where on the website is there a share application form?

This could be deemed as to be offering shares to the public, so we are prohibited from including one on the company website; if you contact us, either by post or by email, requesting a share application form, one will be sent to you.
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Does EA pay a dividend on shares held?

That would be lovely, but in short… no. Any money we make on our land held is reinvested in the company to cover running costs, further land purchases, etc.
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Do the directors of EA draw any sort of salary or payment?

No.
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Are all EA directors also members of the L&B Trust?

Yes, they are all L&B life members.
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I thought EA was just about land purchase? Where has the money to restore Snapper come from?

A few EA supporters have decided that they would like to see improvements made to land owned by the company, which is fantastic. They have paid for these works either out of their own pockets, of from collections held at various meetings around the country, specifically for these ‘fringe’ projects.
Projects such as this, do not take money away from future trackbed acquisitions, and share capital is as far as possible only ever used to acquire new assets in the form of land and trackbed.
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What is happening with the EA land at Parracombe?

Agreement has been reached with the L&B Trust, that they will lease from EA the two stretches of tracked that they require at a nominal sum, so as to rebuild and operate the line to Wistlandpound. While EA retains the original title to the land, it keeps the land secure and helps to protect the long term future of the railway project, while also allowing EA shareholders to maintain a position where their contribution allows them to own a piece of the L&B trackbed. The lease will not place risk on the future of the railway or project, and will not place any additional obstacles for the railway in being able to carry out reinstatement works, or in due course run train services.
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What will happen to EA, and the shares issued, once the L&B is fully open?

In this happy scenario, the raison d’etre for EA as it stands will have potentially ceased. This is probably not going to happen for quite some years, and this project is likely to outlive quite a few of us. EA is very much about investing for the long term, and future generations, to be able to enjoy the L&B once again. In the event that the railway is fully rebuilt, there may still be a need to acquire or build more volunteer accommodation, and to maintain and operate it, as well as contributing in other ways. So it could be that the company’s role shifts and evolves, or alternatively the shareholders and directors together may elect to come to other arrangements with the railway and wind up the company. These decisions will ultimately lie in the future with the shareholders and directors at that time.
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Has EA paid above market value for land or trackbed?

Much of the land we have purchased or acquired was at, or significantly below, market value. We do not pay above market value for land or trackbed, but “market value” of a particular section needs careful consideration of factors over and above the obvious one of acreage. In two cases in particular fencing of the trackbed will divide working farms in half. This will mean access to the remote half of the farm will have to be via a gated occupation crossing or necessitate an extended journey for farm vehicles via public roads. We have agreed with the farmers concerned that we will not fence these sections until necessary but as these are both sections now being leased to the L&B between Woody Bay Station and Wistlandpound this may hopefully not be so far distant. Once fenced the farmers will have the access inconvenience in perpetuity and therefore the purchase price (market value) has had to reflect this.
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Does EA derive an income from the land it owns?

We have derived some income from land at Collard Bridge and Snapper, however some of the other land we have has continued to be farmed by the previous owner as part of the purchase agreement, the previous question (above) explains why this is the case. The potential income generated from our land is always likely to be fairly limited, particularly where most of it is just a linear strip. It should be remembered that EA is not out to make a profit – it is trying to secure trackbed and associated land for the future and the bigger picture. All shareholders are aware of this when contributing, we are however keen to generate income from assets where we can, to help meet the costs of maintaining the land and our long term sustainability.
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How much trackbed does EA own?

As at May 2017, Exmoor Associates owns 9 sections of trackbed, totalling 3 miles in length. The L&B Trust also owns a further 6 sections (including that in operation), totalling 2.27 miles. The L&B was originally 19.29miles in length, so this means that between us we collectively own 27.3% of the route. A map outlining which bits are owned by whom can be found on the trackbed page.
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Why do we bother buying land in the Yeo Valley when it is so far from Woody Bay?

All the trackbed is important and Exmoor Associates is about the bigger picture and the long term vision. Buying trackbed piecemeal, as seen elsewhere with other heritage projects, is a very slow process. With this in mind, we need to pick up land whenever it becomes available, not wait to buy it when we need it. Buying sections at market value further away from the current railhead is also good for the operating railway and the main project, as it helps further raise the profile of the project and make the ‘impossible dream’ seem ever more feasible.
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It is highly unlikely we will see this stretch being used in our lifetime – why buy it?

You may be forgetting the younger volunteers and visitors at Woody Bay – they may still get to see it. In actual fact, the timescales outlined in the Exmoor Enterprise project would suggest that most if not all of the route is achievable within a great many people’s current lifetime. Above all else, EA is not here to decide which bits deserve securing and which don’t – the L&B Trust is the body to concentrate on immediate operational needs, we on the other hand are here to try to secure whatever comes up for sale or whatever we can successfully negotiate.
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Why does EA focus on buying trackbed in the south half of the route?

Since we formed EA we have approached and spoken with most landowners between Barnstaple and Lynton, and we continue to build relations with them. Since 2009, the L&B Trust have asked us to focus more on land for phase three while they focus on the more immediate negotiations required in the north for phase 2. That does not mean we will not buy trackbed in the north half but we are for the moment At present we are therefore concentrating our efforts south of Wistlandpound, however we would look to help the L&B to acquire more trackbed in the north as well if they need our assistance. Our purpose remains to secure land and trackbed along the whole route from Lynton to Barnstaple, in order to secure the long term future of the project, and this remains unchanged.
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Why have EA when the L&B can later just compulsory purchase all the land it needs?

Yes it is theoretically possible for the L&B to apply for compulsory purchase (CPO) powers as part of its application for a Transport & Works Act Order (T&WAO). Purchasing land by this method alone will understandably cause unrest amongst landowners and neighbours along the route, and will likely result in local opposition for the project, it is also unlikely that a CPO would be granted unless considerable efforts at negotiation had already been made and a substantial portion of the trackbed already owned.
It is far preferable to take a friendly and personal approach as we are doing with EA. CPOs are not automatically granted as part of the T&WAO, they have to be applied for and specified for where they would apply. For every mile of additional CPOs required, the cost will increase. The inclusion of CPO powers will also be significantly more likely to force the T&WAO application to a public inquiry – the more people the CPOs affect, the longer that inquiry is likely to take. The cost of such inquiries is significant – think in terms of a seven figure sum. With all this in mind, it is very much in the interests of the L&B project, to buy land before applying for the T&WAO.
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Does EA plan to build its own rival railway elsewhere along the route?

No, definitely not. EA is solely a company for the purchase, maintenance and safeguarding of the trackbed and adjacent land.

EA would not build a railway, it is not what we set up the company for. We would be prepared to consider proposals for other rail heads in the future that involve land we own, however they would need to have a proper business plan and it would need to either be by the existing railway CIC at Woody Bay, or with its full co-operation as part of the wider project.
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Surely money being put into EA is taking money away from extending the L&B?

No. People put money into EA because they want to help secure the future of the trackbed for the ultimate reinstatement of the L&B and because, as the land is owned by our shareholders, they feel they have a stake in the future rebuilding of the railway. There is no other outlet to do this, and EA is the only place you can put your money and know it will absolutely only get spent on securing more trackbed – we do ‘what we say on the tin’. It has been proven many times that people often only want their money to go to a specific cause, and those people would not put the same money into a different appeal at Woody Bay.
Exactly the same arguments have been applied with the 762 Project. It has equally been argued there that the project is not taking any money away from other “more important” projects in the L&B, because those who invest in the loco want to see the loco built and would not put their money into the project elsewhere.
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Do you have elections of directors?

No, this is laid out in the shareholders agreement sent to all shareholders. The directors can co-opt other directors if they feel it appropriate, however the existing setup was designed so that EA is able to quickly react to opportunities where they arise, and also so that there is stability in the management. If the directors changed on a regular basis, it would make the ongoing building of relations with landowners significantly more difficult.
The L&B Trust has AGMs and elections on a three year cycle, however the L&B CIC directors are not elected, making the seemingly ‘democratic’ setup there really little different from what we have in EA. In the case of the L&B, the directors can only be changed by the Trustees, and in turn they (the Trustees) can only be changed when they come up for election on rotation. The reality is that the majority of ‘armchair members’ of organisations will always vote for the status quo unless given a very significant reason not to. In defence of the L&B’s setup, it is not really any different to other similar organisations, and also (much like EA) the CIC with Exmoor Enterprise needs stability in order to succeed.
We regularly seek the consensus of shareholders’ opinions on decisions affecting the future of EA, which can help steer decision making. To make certain changes, such as changes to the M&As, we would be legally required to have a formal vote.
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But I am not happy that EA’s directors are effectively self appointed?

That is fine, you do not have to be a shareholder. The directors formed EA, all as very active members of the L&B, in response to a need that could not be met by the existing organisations and hold office as unpaid volunteers at a not insignificant personal cost. By becoming a shareholder you are accepting the way the company is set up and you are buying into it as it is. We hope that you will have confidence in us as directors, if you have any questions we will always be happy to do what we can to help you with them. You can of course support EA without putting in money, as you can also come along and help hands-on when we have working parties to carry out land management or restoration work. If you are interested in this, please get in touch with us. We see ourselves as a large group of friends and as a team, and we welcome new people who would like to be a part of it.
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Are the directors answerable to anyone?

We answer to our shareholders and we listen to all the feedback we are given. Where we are given requests that affect the future of EA, we look to see what the majority want to do and we go with the majority decision.
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Why does EA not respond to questions on forums?

We will not get involved in discussion on any online forum and where anyone does post, they do so only in a personal capacity. Any questions should always be put to EA directly using our contact page and we will always be happy to correspond directly with you.
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Is the land completely secure?

Yes, it is as secure as we can make it. We do not over stretch ourselves and we only consider spending money we have or know we can raise. As directors, we never do anything to put the company at any kind of risk; we have no debts or overdrafts, and all our land is insured. There is no conceivable situation where the company would suddenly become insecure and, having sought detailed legal advice on this, there is no perceived risk to the land at all. The underlying aim of the company is to secure the land and trackbed for both the immediate and long term future.
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Who owns Chelfham Viaduct?

It continued to be owned by British Railways Board (Residuary) Ltd until 2013, along with nearby Goodleigh Road bridge and the formation between. Ownership transferred to The Highways Agency when BRB was was wound up. The viaduct was restored to operational condition in 2000 by BRB with substantial support form the Railway Heritage Trust. The viaduct remains property of The Highways Agency today. It can be viewed from the public road, but is not accessible to the public. The Grade 2 listed viaduct can only be sold to another statutory body who is in possession of a T&WAO (to include the structure). Until such time as a railway is ready to be built across the viaduct, it will remain in the hands of The Highways Agency, who will continue to be responsible for its maintenance.
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How can I become a shareholder or buy more shares?

Please get in contact with us to discuss being a supporter of Exmoor Associates.