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Network Rail action forces Children's Respite Care Centre to remain closed

During the repair of the railway the Network Rail corporation decided to increase the capacity of an old culvert which had been designed into the railway during construction in the late 1880s. They also built a v shaped storm ditch which diverted the river to the gully. The result of this was to cause the new culvert to be unstable. A large whirlpool formed every time it rained and the care centre was forced to close. Mud silt and soil was forced in through our property which caused us to remain closed from the initial disaster.

This was part of a course of conduct which previously saw them dam up a ditch some 5 years earlier and against our pleas to stop. It happened because of a landslide about 500yds up the track. The landslide blocked the A830 and the railway for several days. Their solution: dump the spill into the main ditch exacerbating the water build up behind the line. Despite chatting to them at the time and warning them it fell on deaf ears.

I have for many years warned the engineers during chats while i was on patrol in my Police car that the rain was building up behind the railway. It was often a case of using the radio to call on the trains to be put on a go slow or stop to prevent a disaster should the railway get washed away. It was always the same response: we know about it but they are not going to do anything - too much rail not enough cash would often be the response.

By blocking this ditch they effectively sealed the eventual fate of the railway.

Network Rail then decided to build a wall of 1 ton bags of sand and gravel to take the water back on its normal course. This stopped the water deluging into our property. They even built up the railway embankment to stop water coming up to the house, after sending tons of mud coursing through our property, forcing us yes you got it to remain closed. Tens of thousands of pounds in damage not to mention the fact that the Care Centre was still forced to close.

The diggers they sent in to move the 1 ton bags caused such a huge mud plain they destroyed the ancient Rare Wild Orchid meadow and the stream which had fed our fire pond. 21,000 gallons of mud filled the entire pond preventing us being able to have an emergency fire pond. The nearest fire engine is 45 minutes away. There is no water mains where we are situated so the fire pond is vital in order for us to protect and fight fires. These are common due to the steam train in summer and we have had to utilise the fire pond on many occasions to protect the children's care centre.

The entire property has been closed now since 25th June 2020 when Network Rail came and fixed their railway and left us forsaken, unable to open with promises they would make it right. Today, 31st March 2021, the Trust Care Centre remains closed and we continue to plead with the large corporation to make this right.

We have had over 3000 hours of volunteers time spent getting us moving forward but we need more before we will be able to open. The fire pond is now almost mud free but this has taken many months by rebuilding the Orchid meadow stream and then the stream which feeds the pond. Everyone is exhausted but we carry on each day in the hope someone will stand, up admit they were wrong, and help us get things right.


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