August 12, 2014
Return of historic railway buffers to Burnham-On-Sea is delayed

A project set-up to celebrate Burnham's railway history by installing a set of train buffers looks set to be delayed due to ongoing negotiations around the ownership of the land where it is hoped they will be installed.

As first reported here, the Burnham Buffer Stop Memorial Project hopes to install a set of old railway buffers in Pier Street, where the town's former railway line previously ended.

The Burnham Buffer Stop Memorial Project's leader, John Strickland, told this week that "the complexity of the land ownership and the form of agreement required to guarantee the future of the buffers has, for the time being, delayed us."

The plan was to have the buffers installed in time to be the first feature on a new Heritage Trail which is to be launched on August 23rd.

Since April 2011 the North Sedgemoor Local History Group, which is overseeing the project, has been working towards the installation of the buffers as a 'gift' to the town.

John added: "The pebbled area on this corner is the nearest suitable point to the location of the original set of buffers which were in place when Burnham had a busy and well used rail link to the main line at Highbridge."

"As an entirely separate project the History Group successfully applied for a Heritage Lottery Grant to produce a history website and a Heritage Trail for schools, visitors and new residents to walk."

"Unfortunately, a lengthy delay in obtaining cost estimates for the Buffer installation meant the buffer costings could not be included our Lottery Grant Application."

He added: "Through grants from the Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Councillors and generous gifts from local businesses and members of the public, the group has now raised sufficient funds to cover the legal costs of the freeholders and leasees of the land and the installation costs of the buffers. It is a sign of approval that both District and Town Councils and our MP Tessa Munt have all welcomed the initiative."

"Yet despite this, at the last moment, it seems that the complexity of the land ownership and the form of agreement required to guarantee the future has, for the time being, delayed us."

"This is profoundly disappointing to all involved and the History Group would wish to apologise to all those who have supported the project for this unforeseen delay. The group are continuing to work towards the installation of the buffers at the earliest possible opportunity."

The group is in talks with Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council to try and negotiate a solution to complete the purchase of the land for the buffers.


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