Who is Roger Bush?

Who?

  • Have WSRA members heard of Roger Bush?

What do we know:

  • Roger Bush is a WSRA member although we do not know when he joined the membership.
  • Some years ago, after being introduced to the WSR Plc board by a current Plc director, we know Roger Bush later attended a Plc board meeting and presented his proposals to help the Plc buy the freehold. The proposals were rejected.
  • A while later, Roger Bush had been retained as their “agent” by the WSRA trustees to “go to Somerset County Council (SCC) to ask if the freehold of the line might be available to buy and if so how much” (the WSRA’s stock answer somewhat paraphrased here).
  • What followed was the WSRA’s announcement of their talks with SCC over the possible purchase of the freehold by WSRA.
  • Then followed the counter bid from the Plc.
  • WSRA members may know the negotiations over the freehold sale were stopped by the leader of SCC and an independent inquiry set up by SCC into the conduct of the councillor who was leading the negotiations. That inquiry has yet to report.

For now, we don’t want to discuss an already choked and confusing discussion about the freehold bids.

  • What we want WSRA members to consider is the role of Roger Bush in all of this.

The emails

Part of the “evidence” put to the SCC’s inquiry is likely to be a series of emails between Roger Bush (WSRA’s agent) and the councillor. Those emails are in the public domain having been obtained via a Freedom of Information request (see http://www.somerset.gov.uk/information-and-statistics/freedom-of-information/freedom-of-information-responses/disclosure-log/?entryid99=53559&q=0~west+somerset+railway~ ) Even staunch supporters of the WSRA’s freehold bid were shocked at the contents of those emails. The WSRA, through its appointed agent, were drawn into the council’s processes.

The role of the trustees

WSRA members might think the WSRA trustees were not party to the emails in any way. Maybe, maybe not. However, they had used Roger Bush to represent the WSRA in discussions with SCC far and beyond simply asking two questions. At one meeting with SCC, also attended by WSR Plc, Roger Bush was the sole WSRA representative and was given, according the WSRA, authority to make decisions (within defined limits) on behalf of the trustees.

  • How closely did the trustees monitor the work of their agent?
  • Did the trustees see any of the correspondence, sent on behalf of WSRA, between Roger Bush and the council?
  • If they did see that correspondence, what (if any) actions did the trustees take to clarify and manage situations.

The expenses

Roger Bush has, according to the WSRA, received around £700 in expenses.

  • WSRA members might wonder how such a high sum could possibly be racked up in so short a time.
  • WSRA members might wonder why a WSRA member who lives in Bishops Lydeard found it necessary to make such a claim for expenses when so many other WSRA members do so much for free.

Rewards?

The WSRA trustees state categorically that Roger Bush (or anyone else for that matter) personally stood to gain nothing from a successful freehold bid. We haven’t seen any paperwork – the trustees do not seem to willing to share any correspondence or documents relating to the appointment of Roger Bush, along with related terms of reference and arrangements for remuneration (of any kind).

  • WSRA members might wonder why Roger Bush was so keen to help wrest – in two separate attempts – the freehold of the line from SCC? What did he stand to gain? Just the kudos? Or something else?

Other WSR people have speculated on any number of motives. We’ll not go into any of those here.

Further reading for WSRA members

These sources carry several statements from the WSRA trustees on the topic.

Answers please

  • Who is Roger Bush?
  • Maybe the man himself might care to comment?
  • Anyone else know?

We believe the points and questions above are based on known facts and are fair to all parties mentioned.

It would be wonderful to hear from Roger Bush, or from the WSRA trustees. We will post any responses here.

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