March 6, 2015
Burnham rail heritage project gets back on track after legal delays

Plans to re-introduce a set of railway buffers in Burnham-On-Sea to celebrate the town's rail heritage are back on track after months of legal talks.

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.

John Strickland, Chairman of the North Sedgemoor Local History Group and a member of the Railway Buffer Memorial Project Team, said this week that they are hopeful that the buffers will be in place for this summer.

He told "We recognised when the buffers were lifted from the former Royal Ordnance Factory site at Puriton in October 2011 that the legal process would be very involved, but never anticipated it would take this length of time."

"Once sufficient grant funds were obtained via the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council, plus considerable public and business donations, a formal legal application was made in September last year."

"You may remember that it was known from the outset that the legal process involved obtaining consents from Sedgemoor District Council, Morrisons supermarket and a Freeholder."

"Initially we were informed that a licence would suffice for this minor change to an under lease, but this was proven to be wrong with further delays incurred. In fact changes are needed to a Primary Lease, a Sub Lease and a Sub-under Lease."

"To add a further complication, Sedgemoor originally agreed to service this application within their own legal department but eventually contracted the work to an external solicitor, making four parties now involved and at additional costs to the project. We have been in regular contact with all of the parties since this time to try and chase things along."

John added: "The good news is that only last week I was requested to send monies to two of the parties involved and the process now appears to be nearing completion. We are keen to have the Buffers installed as the start of Burnham’s Heritage Trail in time for this season’s main influx of holidaymakers. We will continue to push for authorisation to meet this time frame."

Burnham and Highbridge's Mayor Martin Cox has this week praised the group for their hard work in seeing the project through. "Top marks to them for their perseverence - we look forard to seeing buffers in place!"

Pictured: How the original buffers in Burnham's Pier Street looked and where they will be sited later this summer

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