BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

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Stanley
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BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 01 Sep 2017, 07:09

BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

I have been aware for some time that the future of Bancroft Mill Engine is under threat because of a ten-fold increase in the charges for 'Highways Drainage' by Water Plus, the successor company to United Utilities. I have looked at their web site and it is headed "Looking for a refreshingly personal approach to water?" I think that's exactly what is needed here.
The Bancroft Engine is, after a lot of hard voluntary work, the only asset left in the town directly connected with the textile industry which was our life-blood for a century. Anyone who follows my articles knows that this industry was the foundation of our late 19th century and 20th century development from a village to a thriving industrial centre. It provided the premises for our modern high-tech employers and nurtured a work force that could turn its hand to anything from anything from making beds to modern jet engines. This is very personal history and the story of our roots.
How many small towns can boast that they have a piece of heritage as potent as the Bancroft Engine in steam? It is an educational tool, a piece of living industrial sculpture and immediately captures the hearts of everyone who takes the trouble to go and see it. The situation now is that unless we do something about it we will certainly lose it within a couple of years and it will be abandoned to rot.
So, we have a problem! The immediate question is what do we do about it. I believe the answer lies in our own hands, the first obvious action is to support the Trust by visiting the engine, making a contribution by way of the entrance fee and perhaps even volunteering. Another route is to start shouting at our representatives on the council and in government. Imagine the impact of a flood of letters from voters.... this still carries weight especially when elections loom. I am doing my bit, I meet a representative of the Trust today (25th of August) and I shall do all I can, this article is the first shot in my broadside.
What really puzzles me is the attitude of Water Plus. They talk glibly about 'having discussions with the Trust', by this I suppose they mean they simply re-present the bill and threaten action if it isn't paid. I would assume that they have a Customer Relations department (you can access this on their web-site) and no doubt also have a large advertising budget. Can they not realise that the cost to their reputation far exceeds the small amount they will gain during the process of closing the Trust down? This is the natural consequence of their actions of course.
Be assured that I will be making these points personally to them and I hope that some of you will be stirred to look at their website and send them an email. This will take you five minutes and will be a positive blow in the Trust's defence.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Big Kev » 01 Sep 2017, 08:34

Water Plus can be contacted here

Is the Bancroft Engine Trust registered as a charity?
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 01 Sep 2017, 08:59

Not sure Kev......
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by PanBiker » 01 Sep 2017, 09:07

Here is their Facebook Site, there is no mention of charity status in the about section of the site so I would think no. There is a legal obligation to show charity status on publications and advertising if an organisation does have the status.

Bancroft Mill Engine Trust

We will be taking our Silsden grandchildren at the next steaming event on the weekend of the 9th & 10th September.
Ian

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Tripps » 01 Sep 2017, 10:26

It is a registered charity. 517795 Bancroft Mill Engine Trust

At first glance - the sums involved look quite modest, and detailed accounts are not required, since they are below the threshold of £10,000 per annum. . An extra thousand a year would be quite a burden. Two ways forward - either get the charge reduced, or increase the income. If they charge for admission to Stanley's memorial shindig - I think it might cover it for a while. :smile:
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by PanBiker » 01 Sep 2017, 12:23

I stand corrected on their charity status, I only looked at their facebook page and expected it to be on there.

Being involved with a charity myself, BE Bosom Friends - Website I am aware that such status should be notified.

BE Bosom Friends - Facebook Site
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Big Kev » 01 Sep 2017, 12:42

My understanding is the charge is for rainwater running into a public sewer. What is the status of the beck that was originally used at the mill? Who has ownership of it?

Is there still an area that could be used as a soakaway?

This has probably already been looked at but if the rainwater doesn't run into a sewer they should be entitled to a rebate. Presumption is that it currently does but would it be cost effective to route it elsewhere?
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Tripps » 01 Sep 2017, 12:45

I don't get on with Facebook at all - just the occasional 'nosey'.
Your charity B E Bosom Friends is on there too. It looks to be very well run, and in good order.
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by plaques » 01 Sep 2017, 17:30

How about an agreement that goes something like this...
Pay full amount within 2 weeks gains a 90% discount for quick payment.
This way no exceptions have been made and there is no precedence with each case judged on its merits.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 02 Sep 2017, 02:21

A lot of people have read the article. I shall send Ian McKay, the secretary, a link to this thread. Some sensible suggestions.
As for my commemoration, it will be free but all donations on the day will go to the Trust, that's agreed.
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Foot in Each » 03 Sep 2017, 18:27

First I must declare an interest: I have been the Treasurer of Bancroft Mill since earlier this year.

Now we have got that out of the way I must thank Stanley for such an eloquent and thoughtful post. No-one is better qualified than he, as the last Engine Tenter at Bancroft and one of those responsible for saving the engine in 1979, to remind us of it's historic importance to the town.
My own connection with Bancroft is more tenuous, I've been a volunteer there for seven years, and as far as Barlick is concerned, my great, great, great grandfather John Sellers was a grocer in the town in the 1850's and I have heard that he was the first Secretary of Barlick Co-Op.

Thank you everyone else for your thoughts and comments:

Panbiker: Thank you for pointing out the missing Charity info on our FB page - I've corrected it. If you do visit on Heritage w/e do ask for me (Tony) so you can introduce yourself. I might also be there on the Saturday but only till about 2pm.

Tripps: Yes our income is modest. Over the last few years the average is about £8,500 per year. These days we have to pay about £1,600 just for insurance, and squirrel away more than £3,000 per year for the very large periodic maintenance bills chiefly for the chimney and the boiler. After all the other bills are taken care of we just about break even. To find another £1,148 per year for Highways Drainage charges would mean increasing our income from annual subscriptions threefold or significantly increasing our income from visitors quite significantly.
As a registered Charity we receive by statute an 80% reduction in Business Rates and Pendle Council waives the remaining 20%, but there is no reduction in Highways Drainage charges except for places of worship, Scout, Guide and Sea Cadet huts, Village Halls and Community Centres and Community Amateur Sports Clubs.

Big Kev: Not quite: the charge you are talking about is called Surface Water Drainage. Fortunately we were able to prove several years ago that none of our gutters etc went into the public drains. We either collect the water from the roof to feed the boiler or it goes, as you suggest into the beck. This really was fortunate because if we had to pay Surface Water that would be another £2,412 pa! Highways Drainage Charges are just the way that the water co. chooses to recover their costs of processing the water that lands on the roads in their area. Our bill for the water we actually use and the associated sewage charge is less than £100 pa.

If anyone has any other questions suggestions or would like to volunteer at Bancroft in any capacity, please get in touch.

We are running over Heritage weekend 9-10 Sept free of charge and for the first time will be running the 300HP Smith Bros and Eastwood engine, rescued some years ago from Bradley as well as Bancroft's original Roberts Engine. See the web site for details.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 04 Sep 2017, 02:39

Tony, Thanks for responding to the points that were raised. Seven years volunteering is just as valid as my time running the engine! I look forward to seeing you on the 8th.....
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by plaques » 04 Sep 2017, 07:53

Foot in Each wrote:
03 Sep 2017, 18:27
We are running over Heritage weekend 9-10 Sept free of charge and for the first time will be running the 300HP Smith Bros and Eastwood engine,
I forgot it was heritage weekend. As far as I can see the Bancroft engine is the only heritage site opening in Pendle. By contrast Burnley has several venues on offer. Link. Well done Barlick.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by chinatyke » 04 Sep 2017, 11:25

Just a thought: Could you apply to the Lottery Commission for a funding grant or whatever they are called? Bancroft seems like a good cause in my opinion.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Foot in Each » 04 Sep 2017, 11:50

Thanks Chinatyke, we have had grants from the Heritage Lottery fund in the past but my impression is that they are only made for specific projects and not for what would be classed as 'running costs' We can certainly check though..

Does anyone here have experience of applying for Lottery Grants?

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by chinatyke » 04 Sep 2017, 12:43

http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/dis ... ttery-fund
"The Heritage Lottery Fund uses money from the National Lottery to support a wide range of projects involving the local, regional and national heritage of the UK."
I would have thought this was right up their street! Good luck.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by plaques » 04 Sep 2017, 18:10

Foot in Each wrote:
04 Sep 2017, 11:50
Does anyone here have experience of applying for Lottery Grants?
Back in August 2014 I was looking for a possible source of funding for a project I had. In all events it came to nothing but the contact I made was via a lady who lived in Barlick. Whether this option is still available I don't know.
Its worth contacting Irene as a first base contact. Best of luck.


Irene Hardy
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Burnley, Pendle & Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service
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Tel: 01282 433740 ext. 1010
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Website: www.bprcvs.co.uk
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Burnley, Pendle & Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 05 Sep 2017, 03:25

Nice..... This article has certainly done a good job. It's got you all talking.
The distinction between the headings 'capital' and 'revenue' is an old foe for me, the Treasury applies it as well. I could never see the point of funding a start-up and then starving it of essential seed corn money.
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Whyperion » 05 Sep 2017, 20:56

Someone might have to explain to me the distinction between Highways Drainage and what I always thought of as water rates (business and/or residential). I'm involved with a couple of railway museum projects, it might be worth asking Middleton Railway at Leeds what the situation is for their shed buildings. The easy alternative to me, which it looks like Stanley has probably mooted to the company is for an amount of community sponsership from the company at least equal to the amount of charge they are seeking to levy. And what is the definition of 'Community Centre'? I have not paid addmission charge for the running days, but have popped over a couple of times to the (no entry charge made) Cafe element for the tea and toasted teacakes (and use of the well cleaned loos (yes I did put an extra donation in the box for that ), etc and there have been certain members of the community there,generally hanging out and getting educated, presumably the cafe part is avalible for hire to community groups if wanted......
I presume also there is a Scout Badge in Steam Engine Operation (or something similar) that could be awarded to the local troops of Scouts or Guides training in the town - I am sure a practice First Aid badge from the Guides could be earned out a Bancroft...

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by plaques » 06 Sep 2017, 07:34

I seem to remember a church group that was asking for Lottery funding to repair their stained glass windows. Sorry we don't cover repairs. They set up a training group workshop where people could learn about stained glass construction under professional tuition. Grant awarded. They got their windows repaired under a different route.

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 06 Sep 2017, 08:13

That's the sort of strategy that can often work P. Good thought!
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Foot in Each » 08 Sep 2017, 21:18

Sorry for delay in replying, Whyperion, been a bit busy getting ready for Heritage Weekend and fighting npower (that's another story). Highways Drainage is just another category of charge that the water co's can levy on non-domestic premises. It is nothing
I'll certainly check on Middleton Railway, and we are investigating what constitutes a scout hut.

Thanks for your kind words about our café and loos, come and see us - two engines running (one at a time) and it's free this weekend!

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Stanley » 09 Sep 2017, 03:10

I went to the inaugural steaming of the Bradley engine yesterday. I was impressed, I know what is involved in building one from scratch with no drawings..... Now they have to work up to full speed! Don't be frightened of it, you'll get there in the end and it will be OK!
By the way the Bancroft engine is running nicely.....
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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by PanBiker » 09 Sep 2017, 09:42

We will be going up to take a look today. We will have Isla and Finlay for the weekend while their mum does the Great North Run. We took our Ruby last year and she loved it.
Ian

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Re: BANCROFT UNDER THREAT!

Post by Foot in Each » 09 Sep 2017, 15:21

Stanley - thanks for coming yesterday, it was good to see you, I'm glad you were impressed, I can say that I am too as I have had little or no involvement in the Bradley rebuild.

Glad to hear that we are looking after 'your' engine well too

Tony

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