Premier Line Stop Press: NLR Board to make better use of assets

The car parking field at Pitsford & Brampton station was bought by Northampton Steam Railway a number of years ago and was a considerable investment of funds. Whilst there are some special events which maximise the use of this space for much of the time it is an under-utilised asset. We don’t tend to use much parking in the evenings and on non-special event days. Up to now we have allowed the Brampton Halt use of the car park on agreed occasions when it does not clash with us with payment being made for use. Following an approach by the Brampton Halt who are desperately short of parking space during their busy evenings and occasional events a deal is being agreed that will see us derive a number of benefits through allowing the pub shared use of designated areas of the car park. This will be effected via a formal agreement which will allow the pub ongoing use over a number of years, but builds in additional protection to the railway.

The pub will  be shortly constructing their own separate entrance to the car park, with height restriction barriers and gates, which will prevent large vehicles from entering and coupled with secure fencing they will be funding it will prevent access via their entrance to one side of the car park that we retain for our exclusive use and which adjoins areas where we have materials stored that we wish to protect from theft. This very much improves our security and also prevents access from via the causeway into the other field, that route having been used for previous thefts. Although this will result in fencing apparently separating our car park in two halves, the area to be used by the pub is for shared use (not exclusive use by them), and therefore we will have sole control of additional gates which will let us into the same area the pub are using when we require.

We have also built into the car parking provisions to enable us to move the pub customers to a more restricted area for a number of special events where we need more space (such as monthly car boot sales etc) and although we have not organised the 1940’s weekend for a couple of years or the vintage event for this year, we have written in the ability to have completely exclusive use of the whole car park area for a couple of weekends per year for these plus ability to do this for another two such events.

In consideration for the above, we will be making fuller use of the car park and will be gaining the following advantages for the railway:

  1. An annual rent from the Brampton Halt for sharing our car park;
  2. The dropping of rent charges that were previously payable by the Railway to the pub for us to rent their field on the other side of the causeway for special events;
  3. Improved security to our site reducing potential for access and theft from the western side of our site. The security measures and access arrangements will be costing the pub around £25,000 to build such is the need to ensure their use does not impact on our security;
  4. Finally and also very important, we have been discussing a lease of their side of the embankment alongside the platform as we have always seeking to secure access to and control of this land for a number of years to enable us to build a replica of the original station. We have since turned the lease negotiation into a transfer of the freehold of the land to the railway. Under this transfer, the pub will be donating the embankment free of charge, which is a very big concession on their part.

The above proposal has the full agreement of the Northampton Steam Railway board and by time you receive this, it is likely that works on the security measures will have started. Please remember that under the arrangement this is still the railway’s car park, but that the use of the land on the other side of the fence is being shared, with various arrangements in place that will allow us to continue to hold special events etc.