News

Press Release from West Somerset Railway PLC on New Lease Flexibilities Published: 20th December 2016

Somerset County Council and the West Somerset Railway PLC reach agreement on flexibilities for lease and licence extensions for railway organisations on the WSR.

The current head lease on the railway which is held by the PLC provides authority to the Company to enter into sub leases and licenses with railway partners in terms of land and facilities on the Railway. Historically, many of these agreements have been short term but with the new developments planned along the line notably at Bishops Lydeard, Williton and Washford, many of the groups are seeking longer term arrangements in order to be able to attract investment and secure sustainability of their activities.

The PLC has developed a formal Commercial Negotiation Programme which is reviewing and negotiating both existing and new agreements with railway partners. Somerset County Council have agreed that the PLC can enter into licenses, leases and memoranda of understanding up to the term of the current head lease which, in 2016, has 74 years to run. It had also been hoped to secure an extension to the term of the head lease with the County Council but this has not proved to be commercially achievable at this point in time.

In 2017, the Company will intensify its discussions with railway partners to update existing agreements and enter into new ones where required.

John Irven, Chairman of the WSR plc said

"I am extremely pleased that after reaching agreement with the County Council on the freehold, we are now able to offer more flexible and longer term agreements to our railway partners on the WSR which also update the responsibilities of both parties in relation to ongoing management of railway infrastructure, heritage and activities.”