Claverton Pumping Station has always and still is owned by British Waterways, this is a fact that is sometimes misunderstood. There has been one occasion to my knowledge when the K&ACT were offered the freehold but unfortunately in my opinion we were not able to conclude the deal at the time, B.W has since decided that Claverton is not for sale. Since the completion of restoration in the late seventies we have operated and maintained this unique piece of our heritage under a 25 year license. This license has been expired for some years. I have been in continual negotiations to renew it or obtain a lease since then but due to the many reorganisation changes within B.W I have never been able to complete any deal. We now have Mark Stephens as the K&A`s manager who realised that the situation was far from satisfactory, it is Mark’s wish that Claverton remains part of his domain and that the best team to continue its operation and maintenance is the Claverton Pumping Station Group as it stands. We now have a deal in place whereby B.W are responsible for the funding of repairs and renewals and as recompense will receive the entrance fees. This has come at an opportune moment as we are just embarking on a one year project to completely replace the water wheel timbers.
We are now are entering a new era, we are K&ACT members who volunteer directly to B.W and this has caused some changes to the way we operate and record things. The biggest task so far to assist with our self certifying health and safety accreditation has been to completely revamp our Operations and Safety Manual to suit our new status. Most members have been fully supportive and have helped with constructive thoughts with the changes. I would like to thank the entire group for that wonderful support but would especially like to thank Hugh Norman our secretary, Nicky Rogers who has taken on the role of Change Business Manager and Dave Howse our new training manager. They have all spent many days working on the manual and accompanying me to meetings over the past few months. Things are now falling into place nicely and before long we should be back to a more normal pace of life at Claverton.
Due to the water wheel overhaul we will have postponed most of our running dates but if all goes to plan I hope we may have a few runs later in the year. It is a very interesting time to visit Claverton, although we will not be running there will be plenty to see with the ongoing work in progress of the wheel. Our shop will be open as usual (that is still going to be a K&ACT enterprise operation), you will be able to get a coffee, tea, soft drinks and a range of cakes during your visit.