The SVRSevern Valley Railway's Head Office is at 1 Comberton Place, Kidderminster, DY10 1QR. It is located 50 yards from Kidderminster Town station and provides accommodation for Severn Valley Railway Holdings, Guarantee Company and Charitable Trust activities.
Head office from 2014
In 2013 the Holdings Board announced the proposed relocation of the Company Offices to Comberton Place in Kidderminster. Reasons for the proposal included:
- Bewdley station was essentially a domestic dwelling building with steep stairs and limited fire exits
- The building was too small to accommodate staff on a daily basis, resulting in the need to work from a room in the old life-expired buffet building, from home or ‘desk hopping’.
- The only meeting room was shared with driving school and station introductions
- The relocation would bring all administration staff under one roof and provide additional office accommodation for the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust, Heritage Skills Training Academy Coordinator and Volunteer Heads of Department.
- The proposed new office was conveniently close to the station, available to rent, and under a funding mechanism agreed with the Council and the building’s owner, the refurbishment costs were to be covered by funding from outside the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
In November 2013 the SVRSevern Valley Railway entered into a 25-year lease with Wyre Forest District Council for 3,000 sq ft of accommodation in the former Council offices rendered vacant by the move to a newer building on Stourport Road. The first five years rental was £5,000 per annum, with two further five-year rental periods at 50% and 75% of market rate. The lease also provides for a tenant only break clause after 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.
A focus of the refurbishment was to reduce running costs and energy consumption; prior to that time the building had single-glazed metal framed windows, almost no insulation and a poor heating system. Following tender, contractors Ryan Chance undertook works including on the roof structure and windows. A complete internal fit out took place including new electrical systems, sanitary ware and messing facilities. A volunteer-led IT/Telecoms project saw the installation of data and IT communications including some 10km of cables. The mixture of volunteers and contractors refitted the building at a projected cost of £149,300. WFDC allowed two years of non-national domestic rate relief on the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s rates with an SVRSevern Valley Railway undertaking to spend this relief contribution on the refurbishment. This relief provided £144,500 towards the cost.
The SVRSevern Valley Railway occupied the building from 25 April 2014.
- Marshall (1989) p. 180.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 183
- ‘SVR takes 25-year lease on Kidderminster premises’, Kidderminster Shuttle, 13th November 2013 (Retrieved 10 February 2020)
- 'Creating new offices for the Railway, Chris Bond, SVRSevern Valley Railway News 185
- ‘Severn Valley Railway chuffed about new office move to Kidderminster’, Worcester News, 30 May 2014 (Retrieved 10 February 2020)
- Marshall states that although the Bewdley Station building had more rooms, the move was viewed with suspicion at the time, given Nabarro's rumoured plans to abandon Bridgnorth.
- Although Marshall states that the 'Headquarters' moved in 1973, an article in SVRSevern Valley Railway News 185 in spring 2014 referred to Bewdley having been the Head Office for 36 years, suggesting it became Head Office around 1977 or 1978.