Turning Point for the Basingstoke Canal25 October 2017
Hampshire and Surrey County Councils have announced new discussions with Canal & River Trust to find a feasible way of transferring management of the Basingstoke Canal to the Trust. Over the next five years, the two Councils will explore ways to make the Canal as sustainable as possible, by increasing income generation and undertaking capital works to reduce the backlog of repairs. The plan is to transfer the management of the waterway and its assets to CRT, so that it is no longer reliant on public sector funding.
Both IWA and the Basingstoke Canal Society have welcomed the Councils’ commitment, which has the potential to secure the long-term future of the 32 mile long Canal. This is a development for which both IWA and the Society have long campaigned. The Society will also be encouraging the other members of the Canal Partnership, and particularly the riparian districts, to step up their support for the Canal not only by paying their agreed contributions to the Canal’s budget but also by pursuing non-monetary objectives such as taking maximum advantage of planning gain, publicising the canal through their community initiatives, etc. The Canal was reopened to navigation in 1991 following 18 years of restoration work and a long campaign by IWA and the Society dating back to IWA’s formative years.