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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by 50044 Exeter, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    I suspect that it is outright denial. Being charitable it could be that the 6 Trustees hope that having provided an initial response some time ago the matter is closed. If that is their belief then they are mistaken.

    But I feel it is something else entirely. I think it is a wilful blindness to their shortcomings. A great deal of their actions could attributed to an inability to accept that they are not always right and that they may have reached a point where fresh ideas are needed.
     
  2. Isambard!

    Isambard! New Member

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    The accusations against Chris Duffell seem to be that he:


    1. disagreed with others in the board about certain things. Imagine that! A diversity of opinion will just never do.....


    2. Created some kind of Anarchy on Exmoor with hedging work. Now the attached photo, credited to the Trust, has appeared in the railway press. Aside from the bad manners of not acknowledging Chris nor the funders, it's presented as a great achievement. Thus are we now enlightened.


    May I congratulate Chris on this excellent work !

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-T575 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That and also (like certain politicians) a belief that they are entitled to tell as many lies as they please.
     
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  4. echap

    echap New Member

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    Over on the Facebook page, there are some interesting replies to this photo:

    David Tooke
    Top contributor
    I still don't understand what has gone wrong with this work: we (the members) were given advance notice that the work was to be carried out, in Newsletter 81, August 2023. This stated that the work was to be done in October 2023, by a "locally-based hedge-layer", and was being funded by a grant from DEFRA. Clearly all the Trustees must have been aware, in advance, that this was happening.

    Martin Steel
    Thanks to Mr Duffell, I spent an entire working weekend clearing up the mess he left behind and trying to mend our relationship with the farmer. I'd rather be replacing sleepers or something value adding.
    My own view is that all work anywhere up and down the old line, should be carried out with the full knowledge of the General Manager. This would avoid accidental messups that cause us reputational damage. I would go sofar as to advocate a permit-to-work system.
    For a Trustee to act in isolation in this way is showing a lack of respect or commonsense.
    When things go wrong, you can bet it's the General Manager's phone that will start ringing, not a Trustee .
    Being a Trustee does not give you the right to do whatever you like, wherever you like

    Paul Tompkins
    Top contributor
    Martin Steel thankyou. I too was at the working weekend on the friday. Had to work alone due to volunteers being pulled away from planned work to sort this mess out.

    Geoff Loynes
    Top contributor
    Martin Steel Your last sentence is extremely pertinent to all that has been going on for some time. I'm not privy to all the details of this particular situation, so I'm not going to comment on that directly. However, some seem to be taking the view this suggests Chris is unsuitable. Well, if true, that means those people appear to be saying every Trustee who makes even only one mistake should be booted out. ANY trustee will make mistakes, we are all human. By the same thinking, this would suggest that whoever has caused all the voting problems has made a mistake and should be booted out. Or are we looking at a case of some people being more equal than others? Trustees are meant to operate as a team, and until this whole thing is sorted out and we have a full set of trustees who are working with each other, AND fully communicating with Trust members, I don't see very much likelyhood of an extension any time soon.

    It makes it very difficult to know just who is telling the truth and easily shows the fragmentation that is happening to the Trust.
     
  5. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    My reaction to those (and I don't Facebook) is to note that the GM is the GM of the operational railway, not the Trust, and that there needs to be a clear management structure that ensures accountability for work done.

    I've never knowingly met Geoff Loynes, but his response seems absolutely spot on.
     
  6. Isambard!

    Isambard! New Member

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    I understand that the Trust & CIC boards were both aware of the upcoming work, despite protest to the contrary. It was announced in a newsletter last Autumn.

    Those denigrating Chris Duffell are being someone's useful idiots. Who might have such an agenda I wonder?

    Sent from my SM-T575 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    It was mentioned in Newsletter 81, August 2023, as available for download on the L&BRT website: https://www.lynton-rail.co.uk/trust-newsletter
     
  8. Tobbes

    Tobbes Member

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    Just recieved from Chris, Anne and Mike.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This email is sent to you by three L&B Trustees, Anne Belsey, Chris Duffell & Mike Whiteaker using the L&B Rly Trust’s membership list. The use of such a membership list is an allowed action under GDPR regulations where the object of the email is to inform the recipient.

    Dear Members,

    This letter is in response to the email dated 29th February 2024, (also posted on The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Trust Notices and information (lynton-rail.co.uk) with the heading YOUR RAILWAY IS UNDER THREAT OF HOSTILE TAKEOVER. That email was signed by six out of the nine elected Trustees (Peter Miles, John Barton, Ian Cowling, Paul Curson, Charles Summers and Martin Swainson), and was sent from Ian Cowling’s private email address. Despite being posted on the L&B Trust website, it is not an official Trust document.

    Many of the claims made in Ian Cowling’s e-mail are factually incorrect and untrue. These points have been previously discussed in correspondence and in comments posted elsewhere, and we do not propose to repeat them here – but we stress that no “hostile takeover” is imagined or proposed.

    All we want is a Trust Board that:
    • is open and honest with its members
    • is prepared to listen to, and respect, contrary opinions
    • understands, and actively pursues, the objectives of the Trust
    • co-operates and works with all stakeholders in a constructive manner
    • actively seeks advice and input from members and others with relevant experience and expertise
    • has clear boundaries of responsibility and accountability between the Trust and its subsidiaries
    These are all things that should be expected of any Trustee, and all Trustees and prospective Trustees should be prepared to sign up to these commitments and keep to them.

    As for the various claims in Ian Cowling’s email:
    1. Charity Commission Investigation
    The e-mail’s most disingenuous claim is that “Neither the Trust nor the six trustees are under investigation by the Charity Commission”. This is categorically untrue, as the authors know full well. The actual situation is that the Trust is indeed under investigation by the Charity Commission. This investigation (case number C084534), into governance and other matters of the Trust, has been going on for over a year. If, as a result of their investigations, the Charity Commission finds that the Trustees have acted illegally, it can remove them from office. Since ‘the six’ have clearly and knowingly lied about this, can Members really be expected to trust any of their other claims?

    1. Use of e-mail and Membership list.
    It is not a GDPR offence (as claimed) to use the membership list to alert members to legitimate concerns about the actions of certain Trustees. This is explicitly permitted under the Data Protection Act 2018 Section 170.

    1. Dismissal of Anne Belsey and Chris Duffell.
    Charity Commission rules state that a Trustee can be removed from office if they knew of misconduct or mismanagement and failed to take any reasonable step to oppose it. As Trustees, Anne’s and Chris’s obligation is to the Trust’s objectives, and to contest a proposed course of action where they believe it is not in the interests of the organisation, does not comply with the objectives of the Trust, or is against the law. Where those concerns are ignored, they are entitled to alert you, the Members. That is what Anne and Chris have consistently done throughout their time on the Board, and the charges against them are defamatory, vexatious and frivolous.
    1. The statement that “the individuals involved do not have the knowledge, skills or experience to maintain the status quo of the organisation let alone to overcome the planning and legislative challenges associated with any form of extension to the railway” is untrue, and also patronising and highly insulting to all concerned. Some of these individuals are former Trustees, and most have more experience and expertise than the six Trustees who signed Ian Cowling’s email.
    Proposed changes to the Articles of Association

    We need to update the Articles of Association to bring them into line with current Company Law and Charity Commission rules, and to allow for electronic voting to enfranchise all of our Members, including those who live overseas. But such essential changes must not be rushed, and you, as Members, must all be properly consulted and included in the development of them.

    The key changes over who gets to stand for election to the Board represent a blatant power grab by ‘the six’ to disenfranchise us as Members, by ensuring that only candidates who pass the Board’s new “vetting” process will make it on to the ballot paper. The proposed changes would also enable a majority of Trustees to dismiss another Trustee for no stated reason, without due process and with no right of appeal. Finally, bearing in mind that these proposed changes have been thrown together in a hurry, they contain a number of errors and inconsistencies.

    If, as ‘the six’ claim, “there is no hidden agenda to consolidate personal power”, then why are these particular changes needed at all? And why is it necessary to spend several thousand pounds of Trust funds to rush this through at an EGM, when it could be dealt with less than six weeks later at the AGM in early May? The only plausible explanation is to ensure that ‘the six’ can control who can be a candidate at the May AGM.

    If these M&A revisions are passed, a majority of Trustees will be able to block any nominations they want – leading to the creation of a Board that is self-selecting, self-perpetuating and impossible to challenge. This will apply not just to the current Board, but also to any that is elected in the future – and Trust elections will become as farcical as Russian presidential elections. If you don’t want this to happen, please vote AGAINST the M&A revisions.

    There has been much claim and counter-claim, and we have all been told by Members that they don’t know what to believe. If you don’t fully understand the implications of what you’re voting for, then please do contact us and we’re very happy to chat.

    There is an AGM in May, with fresh elections, where you, the Members, can decide who should lead the Trust forward. Let’s make our own decisions about who should stand, not surrender power to ‘the six’.

    Please remember that voting AGAINST the resolutions at the EGM will retain the status quo.

    Anne Belsey: Trustee Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust. annebelsey34@gmail.com

    Chris Duffell: Trustee Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust. Chris.duffell@lynton-rail.co.uk

    Mike Whiteaker: Trustee Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust. mikepwhiteaker@gmail.com
     
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  9. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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  10. Tobbes

    Tobbes Member

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    It's certaintly looking that way, @Meatman

    But the fundamental question is whether we want to have Trustees of our choice on the ballot, or hand it over to 'the six' forever: if not, then I'd ask my fellow members to vote against the proposed M&As.
     
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  11. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Meanwhile - is anyone having any problems trying to login into Facebook at the moment please???
     
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  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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  13. Tobbes

    Tobbes Member

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    I was asked on FB today if Anne, Chris and Mike actually had a proposal to extend the railway. In case you've not seen it, please find it attached.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. D1002

    D1002 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I apologise if this has been posted before.
    A fascinating professional video of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway:

     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2024
  15. brmp201

    brmp201 Member

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    I hadn't seen this before today:

     
  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Meanwhile, for those of you not following exmoor-ng, it has been pointed out there that - if the new AoA are adopted at the EGM - then the deadline for submitting Trustee nominations to the new Nominations Panel in readiness for the May AGM will already have passed!

    So it would appear that, in order to get around that 'hiccup' of their own making, the 'six' propose to shorten that deadline for this year only, despite the fact that the new AoA give them no powers to make such a change. So, yet another example IMHO of the 'six' making up the rules as they go along and 'tweaking' things to suit their own agenda. Given the current administration's self-inflicted proof in recent years of their inability to manage elections and General Meetings properly, what hope do we have of avoiding yet more chaos? And all for what? - a mad rush to get things done just to suit themselves?

    Do not forget also that, even if the new AoA are approved at the EGM, they then have to be submitted to the Charity Commission. What if the CC do not approve them, in which case presumably the 'old' AoA will remain in force and so any elections done at the 2024 AGM under the 'new rules' may well be rendered null&void - then what?
     
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  17. Miff

    Miff Part of the furniture Friend

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    Regardless of AoA and deadline shenanigans are there any good new Trustee candidates ready and willing to stand for election at the AGM? No need to name them prematurely, but this is surely essential.
     
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  18. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    If they are adopted - they are in force. The Charity Commission has to be informed after they are adopted but they don't have to approve the changes. There are criteria which determine whether changes need to be approved by the commission - if this is the case then the proposed changes need to be approved before they are adopted.
     
  19. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Exactly that (highlighted).
     
  20. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    This is the fundamental question which will determine if the 'reformers' can actually make a difference to the future of the railway.
     

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