Bratton Fleming Station for sale

Hand coloured postcard of Bratton Fleming Station, circa 1900

Bratton Fleming Station

It was with great disappointment that the directors of Exmoor Associates learned on Thursday morning (16 April 2020) that the vendors of Bratton Fleming Station had accepted an undisclosed offer from an unnamed third party. This is especially sad as our booked viewing of the station had been cancelled on 24 March by the agent, with a promise to reschedule once the COVID-19 pandemic had receded and more normal times resumed.

Since the station came on the market unexpectedly in early March, EA had made contact with the vendors and had been preparing to raise funds for its purchase. Various ideas have been discussed; any notion of taking on a mortgage was quickly dismissed, as the monthly repayments would have far exceeded any possible rental income. This left a couple of options … either a time-share issue, (but this has been tried before with Distant Point (Chelfham) and Rowley Moor Farm – so perhaps that idea has already had its day?) …

…. or forming a subsidiary group, provisionally to be called, ‘Friends of Bratton’.

Several shareholders had pledged substantial sums – and EA was well on its way to raising the asked for ‘Offers in excess of £325K’ when the bad news arrived. While we do hold cash reserves, allowing us to respond quickly when former trackbed becomes available, these were far short of the £300K+ required; it was felt proper to wait until all the funding was secure before a formal offer was made.

We are maintaining contact with various other landowners over their stretches of trackbed, so there is movement behind the scenes, despite long periods of apparent inactivity.

David Cameron

The station as it was during a visit in 2008; a conservatory has since been added.

Photo: David Cameron
Bridge 34, seen from the garden of Bratton Fleming Station in 2008; narrow-gauge track beyond …

Photo: David Cameron

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18 thoughts on “Bratton Fleming Station for sale

  1. With property values forecast to drop 20to30% the progress of the station deal will no doubt be watched

  2. With the value of anything, being the price someone else is willing to pay, it will be interesting to see what happens in the post-COVID19 era …

  3. This is very disappointing.
    It seemed like such an obvious & easy purchase for the railway.
    Yet in non railway ands it will block extension towards Barnstaple.
    I hope EA have not given up, but are fired with extra energy. I pray that Andrew Naish
    Is right.

  4. Like very many others, I share the disappointment and frustration at the news. Well done EA for
    doing everything possible to buy the property.
    I have a question which is whether local estate agents are fully aware of North Devon District Council’s policy on reinstatement of the L&B? If I were the buyer I might want to know what the future holds – even if in the medium term – in terms of public interest and expectation for reinstatement of the railway… I can imagine a situation where the aspiration of the L&B might seem very distant when actually it is a matter of public policy….

  5. When contacted, the agents assured us that both they and the vendors were well aware of the North Devon Plan and how it related to the trackbed.

  6. Could it be a case for compulsory purchase in the future? Also, is this a grade 11 listed building, if so the planning authorities could put a stop to any future alterations thus severely limiting the purchasers plans.

  7. Pete, All Exmoor Associates’ land purchases are done by negotiation with the land-owner; any compulsory-purchase powers which might come with a Transport & Works Act Order would be for whoever was administering that, and is not really within the remit of EA. As far as I am aware, the station at Bratton Fleming is not listed.

  8. This may seem a silly suggestion …

    Would it be worth approaching the new owners at some time to see if they would be willing for trains to pass though the station in time to come – without stopping.

    There is a precedent for this on the Bluebell – where trains pass through the West Hoathly Station site without stopping – following an agreement that the station would never be rebuilt ( with its associated passenger intrusion ) !!!

    Maybe the new owners of Bratton Fleming might consider a similar arrangement – needless to say with an annual rental in exchange.

  9. I think it very likely EA will make contact with the new owners of Bratton Fleming Station sometime in the future, in order to ascertain their plans. As to the question of their views about trains passing through, that’s probably not a discussion for us – more likely one for the Trust once their extension plans reach that far?

  10. Looking at the agents web site for the property, it looks like it has changed as it is no longer “under offer” , is it worth a further enquiry?

  11. We were alerted to this yesterday Mick! Spoke with the agent and the ball is rolling as I write ….
    Many thanks!

  12. Pleased to hear that EA is moving quickly on the updated situation to the listing.

    With regards to Andrew’s prediction I’m afraid that any suggestion of house prices falling is probably wishful thinking. The only people who lose out in this situation are those that have to sell, otherwise you just wouldn’t take the hit and would remain where you are until the market recovered again. Bratton Flemming almost certainly won’t fall into this bracket. So unfortunately you have to prepare yourself to meet the asking price or risk losing the property to another buyer.

    I’m sure EA half already have several potential options behind the scenes, but if a significant amount of the asking price could be raised via pledges and donations, then perhaps a mortgage for the remainder could be option (assuming it doesn’t contradict the lending or donation criteria of any of the pledges). I’d guess the building would be most suitable for renting out in the short term with perhaps the team from Chelfham relocating once they’re in a position to switch focus?

    Fingers crossed for a positive outcome and another piece of the puzzle!

  13. Are EA a charity, in which case would the tax position be relevant in clawing back more money from donations?

  14. Philip,
    EA is a private limited company, but becoming a charity – or having a charity arm attached, is something we are looking into.
    It would be nice to be able to get Gift Aid on the donations so far given, if it transpires that we fulfil the criteria for charitable status ~ and it can be done retrospectively.
    If you are a solicitor familiar with charity law, we would be very pleased to hear from you.

  15. Bob, We are today (Thursday 18 June) up to just over 270 ‘slots’ having been taken, (of the target of 700); plus circa £7k from JustGiving. I have managed to speak to the vendors directly who are aware of us now – and I have asked that, should the current offer fail to come to completion for any reason, they let me know immediately. We are still short of funds, although several supporters have kindly offered interest-free loans, there is still a shortfall. David

  16. David, as I understood it, the last appeal stated that we were £160k short of the £350k that was asked for. 270 slots of £500 + £7k is circa £150k, which to my reckoning is £200k short. Was that because of money already in the bank or some other form of funding. I should imagine many people will hold off funding till they see which way the wind is blowing on the current station offer.

  17. I am writing to enquire if there is any news regarding Bratton Fleming station


    Roger Bealing

    It’s in the hands of the solicitors now; we are just waiting for them to complete their stuff.

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