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Report by Joint Working Party on Restoration & Management

[Published May 1973]

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Introduction

In 1972, when it was clear that both the Hampshire and Surrey County Councils were resolved to purchase 32 miles of the Basingstoke Canal between the Greywell Tunnel and the River Wey, an Officers Working Party was set up to examine the situation and give advice to the respective committees on the problems of restoration, future use and management of the canal.

At this stage the Working Party has not considered the development of sites for associated recreational purposes.

The chief members of the Working Party were :-

C.C. Bonsey- Hampshire County Council
P.H.O. Carnegy- Surrey County Council
Major S.B. Johns, R.E.- Ministry of Defence
D. Gerry- Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society

Assistance also came from -
P.H. Grevatt- Surrey County Council
J.I. Besent- Surrey County Council
D.P. Creese- Surrey County Council
M.J.S. Turner- Hampshire County Council
Miss B.C.A. Welsh- Hampshire County Council
J.C. Dodwell- Inland Waterways Association

CONTENTS

Introduction

PART 1
Background
Brief Description
Recreational Demands

PART 2
Restoration Schemes
Scheme A
Scheme B
Scheme C
The "Best Buy"
Management Structure
Advisory Panel
Canal Manager
Outside Assistance

PART 3
Bridges
Embankments
Residential Houseboats
Water Supply
Contingency Planning for Emergencies
Summary of Recomendations

APPENDICES
A. Capital costs for all three schemes.
B. Maintenance costs for all three schemes.
C. Estimates of annual revenue.
D. Summary of capital costs, maintenance costs, revenue and net annual expenditure for all three schemes.
E. Programmes of works for scheme C.
F. Cross-section of canal after dredging.
    Management structure.
G. Map of national network of inland waterways.
H. Map of the Basingstoke Canal.

PART 1

Background
In the last few years the importance of conserving our natural amenities and man-made heritage has been increasingly recognised. The need for countryside recreation has also been stressed, especially near large centres of population, and the significance of inland waterways was recently underlined in the consultative document which preceded the Water Bill now before Parliament. In this the Government stated that it was committed to making the widest possible use of all our water spaces, not only as a source of clean water but also as an environmental amenity, a recreational asset that ought to be, can be and will be more fully available to the public as a whole. It stated the Government's view that the national interest would be served by the general improvement of water amenities and in the availability of a national network for pleasure cruising.

The Working Party feel that the Basingstoke Canal could play an important part in this national policy and the ensuing report sets out some of the opportunities which could be realised once the canal is brought into public ownership.

Brief Description.
The Basingstoke Canal was constructed in 1792 for commercial purposes to link the centre of Basingstoke with the River Wey and thence the River Thames. The canal was last used for traffic in the 1940s, since when it has been allowed to deteriorate. In some places the canal now holds water and parts are dried up and becoming overgrown. At the Basingstoke end some sections have been filled in and built upon, and the partial collapse of the Greywell Tunnel has virtually sealed off the western 2 miles of the canal. The culvert over the River Whitewater has sprung a leak and the Broad Oak section is so silted up that here the water trickles in the reverse direction from east to west. In 1968 part of the embankment at Ash collapsed and that section is now dry. There are 28 derelict locks in Surrey and 1 in Hampshire at Ash at the eastern end of the 15 mile summit pound.

Notwithstanding its dangerously neglected condition, the Basingstoke Canal has great charm with quiet stretches of water and tree lined banks. It meanders through the countryside passing by small villages and sometimes right through sizeable towns like Aldershot and Woking. Meandering in this quiet and erratic fashion it is more than a reminder of our historical pastv it is a valuable antidote to today's pent-up tensions which are typified by the headlong progress on the nearby motorway.

Recreational Demands

General
The national upsurge of activity in the use of water space for recreational purposes was spelt out in the Government consultation paper, which estimated that 6 million people regularly engaged in inland water-based activities, and this number did not include the ramblers, campers and naturalists who in their different way also enjoy the same amenity. It is also fair to say that these figures may under-estimate the situation in the home counties and south­east England, because of the higher than average standard of living and growth potential in this part of the country.

The canal could become an excellent amenity for water-based recreation in an area where similar facilities are not generally available to the public. As well as giving an opportunity for canal cruising, canoeing and angling, parts of the canal banks have significant natural history interest and clearing the towpath would open up new opportunities for walkers.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it may be said that the most frequent and regular users of the canal would be those who live within 5 miles of it - which means about 400,000 people.

Perhaps the most significant indication of public enthusiasm for the restoration of the canal, and certainly one of considerable potential value, is the existence of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. Founded a few years ago with the purpose of supporting the restoration of the canal to the fullest possible extent, the Society has 2,000 members, many of whom are willing to devote considerable time and effort for practical tasks such as clearance and simple construction work. As a token of this the first pair of lock gates has already been made by voluntary labour and the second pair is on its way.

Walking
Although the canal itself is in a sorry state some of the towpath has already been cleared by voluntary working parties and is in regular use. If the footbridge were rebuilt over the River Wey at its junction with the canal there could be a continuous path 36 miles long from the River Thames to Greywell Village. There are enough access points along this route for short as well as long distance walks and, passing through such varied and attractive countryside, it would be enjoyed by many.

Angling
The canal used to provide good coarse fishing, including roach, perch, pike, bream, carp, chubb, eels and tench. An advantage of the canal for fishing purposes is that its waters are virtually unspoilt by pollution. There are few places for the public to fish in this area, despite the great demand, and if the canal were repaired and restocked, fishing would certainly become a popular activity and could contribute valuable income.

It is thought that in certain parts of the Surrey section where the locks are very close together, the disturbance of the water would to some extent detract from the fishing interest. For this reason, and also in the belief that there should be a certain amount of free fishing in a waterway of this sort, the effective length from which income is calculated in the Appendices is shown as 20 miles.

Natural History
The canal provides a wealth of natural history interest. 5 miles in Hampshire between Broad Oak and Crookham Village, and 6-1/2 miles in Surrey between Ash Road Bridge and Brookwood Bridge,are designated as 'Sites of Special Scientific Interest'. The Working Party has consulted the Nature Conservancy, the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Naturalists' Trust and Surrey Naturalists' Trust about the natural history interest and to get their views on restoring the canal. Opinions seem to differ on the amount of disturbance which might be caused if the canal were to be restored. Both County Naturalists' Trusts are apprehensive about the possible effects of pollution, wash and disturbance from motor cruisers, but the Nature Conservancy advises that, subject to certain safeguards on speed restrictions, avoiding the use of chemical herbicides, and maintaining a margin of reeds and vegetation on the edge of the banks, there is no reason why the canal should not be restored to navigation. The Conservancy would not be happy to see the flashes dredged and restored and would wish the wooded fringes of the canal to be retained as far as possible. Access on foot should be confined to the towpath side to limit general disturbance.

Boating
In 1971 40,000 motorised boats and cabin cruisers were licensed to use the inland waterways in Britain (3,500 miles). Of these 12,250 were on the River Thames (143 miles) and 750 on the River Wey (20 miles). The demand for this use has doubled on the River Thames in the last ten years and has trebled on the River Wey in the last eight years.

In addition there are now 1,030 smaller non-motorised boats licensed to use the River Wey. This demand has increased by 450% in the last eight years and illustrates the level of demand that may be expected on the nearby Basingstoke Canal.

PART 2

Restoration Schemes
In its present neglected state parts of the canal are a potential health hazard and, in some places, dangerous. The Working Party have assumed that neither County will tolerate this condition once the canal is in public ownership and have therefore considered three different levels of restoration which to varying degrees satisfy the demands for the canal; Scheme A, partial restoration; Scheme B, partial restoration in Surrey and full restoration in Hampshire, and Scheme C, full restoration.

Scheme A - Partial Restoration

This scheme represents the minimum level of restoration. The towpath could be used by walkers and the shallow waterway would provide opportunities for angling and a limited amount of boating. Motor cruisers would be unable to use any part of the canal.

Works
(a) Towpath cleared throughout and low places made good.
(b) The canal dredged to give 2'0" (0.600m) average depth of water.
(c) The embankment at Ash repaired.
(d) The broken culvert at Greywell and other culverts and outlets repaired.
(e) Banks made good.
(f) Brickwork to bridges repaired where the bridge is to be retained. Non-functional bridges demolished.
(g) Locks replaced by weirs.
(h) New depot and house at Ash.

The costs for this work are given in Appendix A. The Working Party have not allowed for any voluntary labour in this scheme as volunteers would be unlikely to give time and effort for this low level of restoration.

Costs
Capital Cost - £180,000
Voluntary input - nil.
Net Capital Cost - £180,000
Annual Loan Charges and Maintenance - £57,300
Annual Revenue - £8,500
Annual Net Expenditure - £48,800

Advantages:
a) This scheme has the lowest capital cost.
b) Natural history interests will be least affected by this scheme.
c) Fishing will not be affected by motor cruisers.

Disadvantages:
a) The canal would only provide a local boating interest.
b) Voluntary labour is unlikely to be offered for restoration work.

Scheme B - Partial restoration in Surrey; full restoration in Hampshire.

The Surrey length would be as in Scheme A. The Hampshire length would be as in Scheme C, but being isolated from the national network of waterways boats would have to be kept there or brought in by road.

The costs are given in Appendix A and allowance has been made for the limited value of voluntary labour that the Working Party consider would be given for this scheme.

Costs
Capital Cost - £240,000
Voluntary Input - £10,000
Net Capital Cost - £230,000
Annual Loan Charges and Maintenance - £63,000
Annual Revenue - £14,500
Annual Net Expenditure - £49,400

Advantages
a) Motor cruising allowed on the Hampshire length of the canal.

Disadvantages
a) The Hampshire length would be isolated from other waterways.
b) The anticipated value of voluntary labour would be £10,000 oompared with £98,000 in Scheme C.

Scheme C - Full Restoration

This scheme would reinstate the canal from the Greywell Tunnel to the River Wey and would bring back to life a heritage which goes back for nearly 200 years. Then it served a commercial purpose for a few; but now the restored canal would fill a new role by providing recreation for an enormous number of people. The movement of boats and the use of locks would add colour and interest to a scene which will be enjoyed by millions.

Works
a) Towpath cleared throughout and low places made good.
b) The canal dredged to 4'6" (l.350m) depth of water (see Appendix f)
c) The embankment at Ash repaired.
d) The broken culvert at Greywell and other culverts and outlets repaired.
e) Banks repaired.
f) Essential bridges repaired, together with the more attractive examples of redundant bridges. All others demolished. Footbridge at Zebon Common and lifting bridge at North Warnborough modified.
g) All locks restored to working condition.
h) Additional planks provided for emergency use to isolate embanked sections.
i) New depot and house at Ash.
j) New house at Scotland Bridge (Surrey)

The costs are summarised in Appendix A. Details and timing of works are in Appendix E.

Costs
Capital Cost - £346,000
Voluntary Input - £98,000
Net Capital Cost - £248,000
Annual Loan Chatges and Maintenance - £69,200
Annual Revenue - £25,000
Annual Net Expenditure - £44,200

Advantages
a) This scheme makes the most use of the canal. It provides more recreational facilities and will attract more public interest and support than either Scheme A or B.
b) The canal would become an extension of the existing national network of waterways (see map in Appendix G)
c) This scheme has the lowest net annual cost taking into account loan charges, running costs and income.
d) The anticipated value of voluntary labour would be £98,000, which would reduce the cost to the ratepayers by nearly one third.

Disadvantages
a) The use of the canal by motorised boats will tend to increase the rate of bank erosion, but this can be kept to a minimum by imposing a speed restriction and limiting the number of licences issued (see 14.2). The additional costs of safeguarding the banks have been included in the estimates.
b) Controls would be needed to minimise noise and water pollution.
c) There may be conflicts of interest between the various canal users (but see 10.1 on Canal Advisory Panel).

The "Best Buy"

The comparative costs of the three schemes are summarised in the following table:

SchemeCapital CostVoluntary InputNet Capital CostAnnual Loan Charges and MaintenanceAnnual RevenueAnnual Net Expenditure
A£180,000Nil£180,000£57,300£8,500£48,800
B£240,000£10,000£230,000£63,900£14,500£49,400
C£346,000£98,000£248,000£69,200£25,000£44,200

THE WORKING PARTY THEREFORE RECOMMENDS THAT SCHEME C BE IMPLEMENTED AS IT GIVES THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT FOR THE MINIMUM NET ANNUAL COST.

Management Structure
The Working Party feel that one of the most important issues to be resolved is the establishment of an effective management structure for the Basingstoke Canal so that it is restored, developed and managed as a whole, rather than as two separate halves. This will require special arrangements to integrate the activities of both County Councils and get the maximum involvement from outside bodies and the general public, who have already shown such great interest in this project.

Much will depend on the extent of restoration. If, for example, both Counties decide that only limited restoration ia justified as on the lines of Scheme A, there would seem to be little call for any special management structure and the usual inter-County liaison would probably suffice. Scheme B, with full restoration for the Hampshire length only, is more of a compromise. The normal inter-County liaison should suffice to keep both Councils in touch with developments, but special arrangements might be needed for the Hampshire section to involve outside support.

But the Working Party hope that both Counties will wish to make the most of the long term opportunity to fully restore the whole canal and would consider setting up a management structure specially designed for that purpose. There seems to be two possible courses of action.

Joint Committee
Firstly, each County could appoint representatives to serve on a special sub-committee which might be called the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee. This would be expected to work within the overall policies of the respective County Councils and would be empowered to execute the combined plan within the resources allocated to it. The Joint Management Committee would appoint a Canal Manager to be responsible for restoring and maintaining the whole length of the canal and developing the 'water-based' activities on it. This single body would co-ordinate the whole project as a variation on the familiar sub-committee theme and should be relatively straightforward to set up. The principal disadvantages lie in the fact that the joint committee would probably be seen by the general public as 'just another Council Committee'.

Charitable Trust
To harness the maximum public interest a somewhat different approach is called for. The Working Party believe that the advantages of the Joint Management Committee could be further improved if, instead of being a sub-committee of the parent Counties, it could take the shape of an independent charitable trust, called the Basingstoke Canal Trust, consisting of nine Trustees. Three could be appointed by Hampshire County Council, three by Surrey County Council and three from outside interests. It will probably not be easy to get universal acceptance of who should be the three 'outside' Trustees, but the Working Party feel that at least one and perhaps two should be appointed by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, who have for so long been champions of the Basingstoke Canal cause. The other could be nominated by the Southern Sports Council to represent the broad spectrum of user interests, or by an amenity society, such as the C.P.R.B, or the Civic Trust. This allocation of Trustees relates to the estimated inputs in Scheme C to be made by the two Counties and the volunteers.

Being a charitable body the Trust would be in the best position to raise outside support. In addition to its main income from its parent Counties the Trust could receive contributions and tax-free covenants from the public. Some charitable foundations are precluded from directly grant aiding local authority projects, but would be happy to support a charitable trust or non-profit making concern doing the same work. By the same token, it is probable that more volunteers would come forward to work for the Basingstoke Canal Trust than would respond to an appeal for help from a County Council Committee - albeit a joint one - as they may feel they are just subsidising the rates.

THE WORKING PARTY THEREFORE RECOMMENDS THAT A CHARITABLE TRUST, TO BE CALLED 'THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL TRUST' BE ESTABLISHED TO RESTORE, DEVELOP AND MANAGE THE WHOLE CANAL.

Advisory Panel
Public participation in the project would be further encouraged by the establishment of a special Basingstoke Canal Advisory Panel. This could be similar to the Hampshire Countryside Committee's Advisory Panel but would be specially tailored for this project. Membership should cover the various user interests, such as boaters, anglers, ramblers and naturalists, riparian interests such as farmers and landowners including the Ministry of Defence, amenity bodies and the various District and Parish Councils through whose territory the canal runs. The Panel should meet regularly to discuss issues of policy and specific proposals.

Canal Manager
If Scheme C is adopted a Canal Manager should be appointed by the Trust (or Joint Committee) as soon as possible to be responsible for restoring, developing and managing the canal and all 'water-based' activities on it. He would have a small staff of his own but would be able to get help and technical support from officers of both parent Counties when required. Not the least of his duties would be to encourage public interest in the scheme and to co-ordinate and organise all voluntary help working on the canal. He would indeed be "Mr. Canal" and a great deal will depend on choosing the right man for this challenging task.

Although the Working Party have not at this stage considered what recreational developments should take place on the banks of the canal, it is foreseen that a wide range of provisions from large scale country parks down to quite small picnic areas will be established. As these will probably form part of the general spread of countryside activities carried out by the respective Counties, it is not envisaged at this stage that the Canal Trust or its Canal Manager would have to be responsible for these 'shore-based' activities - although close liaison would be necessary.

Outside Assistance
The Working Party have considered the possible sources of outside assistance to help with the restoration of the canal. Where applicable the value of this help has been shown in the estimates.

Voluntary labour
Reference has already been made to the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. Most of the 2,000 members live near the Basingstoke Canal and many have offered to help restore it. In addition there are many thousands of canal enthusiasts throughout the country who have carried out massive clearance for similar projects. The Waterways Recovery Group, which is a division within the Inland Waterways Association, specialises in organising week-end task forces of up to 1,000 volunteers. They have operated mainly in the midlands and in the north and are understood to be keen on tackling projects like the Basingstoke Canal in the south of England. Although these large parties can achieve a great deal in a short time, it is probable that most of the work on the Basingstoke Canal would be more effectively carried out by a series of smaller groups of between 10 and 30 volunteers working to a steady programme. There should be one skilled man for every six unskilled volunteers and these groups could be used for many of the initial tasks such as clearing the towpaths and removing rubbish and fallen trees from the canal. Unskilled labour can also be used to support and finish off more difficult operations, e.g. shifting and spreading the silt after dredging, or painting lock gates after construction. The more specialised tasks, such as repairing brickwork to locks or pile driving, require fewer people but they must have the necessary skills. Using mechanical dredgers or constructing lock gates are very specialised tasks, but even these skills are available among the volunteers, as shown by the new lock gates made by members of the Canal Society.

The programme of work for Scheme C (Appendix E) shows that as much as £96,000 worth of work could be carried out by volunteers, thus reducing the cost to the ratepayers by nearly one third.

(Since these figures were produced the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society have purchased a 30 ton floating dredger which could reduce still further the dredging costs shown).

Ministry of Defence
The strong local interests of the Army have been represented on the Working Party by the Project Liaison Officer appointed by the Commander Aldershot Garrison., the latter having been instrumental in setting up the earlier informal co-ordinating meetings with the County Councils and other representatives.

In the Aldershot Military Town and the Pirbright area the Army are eager to clean up the canal and voluntary work parties would be encouraged from the local units.

The Military Aid to Civil Community (M.A.C.C.) Scheme permits the use of military manpower and equipment for non-profit making concerns at favourable repayment rates, where the work involved may count towards military training (subject of course to the availability of units at the time).

Some specimen charges under this scheme are as follows :-

(a) Transport - 4 ton vehicle used to carry M.O.D. personnel to and from site, 8p. a mile.
(b) Diesel fuel - used by static plant on site, - £68.60p, per thousand gallons.
(c) Materials - nonexpendable materials, e.g. - scaffolding, loaned free of charge. Expendable materials to be provided by the sponsor.

(br) Labour - normally no charge where the sponsor is a charitable trust or non-profit making concern, e.g. Local Authority.

Subject to the approval of the Ministry of Defence, a military member could serve on the proposed Canal Advisory Panel (see 10.l) to co-ordinate military help and assistance under the M.A.C.C. scheme.

Prison Labour
The Working Party have heard how prison labour has been used for work on other waterways at very cheap rates. But a recent change in Home Office policy indicates that only government departments, and perhaps in exceptional circumstances charitable organisations, will be able to benefit from prison labour at reduced rates. As it is uncertain how much financial advantage would be gained by their employment, no allowance has been made in the estimates for prison labour.

Grant Aid
Enquiries have been made about grant aid available for restoring the canal.

a) Grant from the Sports Council for sporting facilities and
b) Grant under the Countryside Act 1968.
Preliminary enquiries have indicated that the restoration of the canal might qualify for these grants, The size and conditions of the grants are unknown and therefore no allowance has been made for them in the estimates.
c) Eyesore Grant for improvement of Derelict Areas
The canal does not qualify for this grant as it is only applicable to development areas.

PART 3

Bridges
Although the original bridges were designed with ample headroom, three more recent bridges in the Hampshire section at Reading Road South in Fleet, Pondtail Bridge in Fleet and Wharf Bridge in Aldershot have been built much lower and could literally cause a headache to owners of the larger motor cruisers. The lowest point is the underside of Reading Road South Bridge at Fleet which will have only 5'11" (1.775m) headroom once the canal has been restored to give a 4'6" (l.350m) depth of water. Although the largest of cruising boats might have to take on board ballast or lower some superstructure before they can pass under these low bridges, the Working Party conclude that the vast majority of motor cruisers likely to use the Basingstoke Canal could pass through without difficulty. This view is supported by the fact that several other very popular cruising canals have low bridges; in particular the Trent and Mersey Canal and River Stort have minimum headrooms of 5'9" (l.725m) and the Stratford Canal a minimum headroom of 6' (1.800m).

To prevent future headaches the Working Party would urge that no new bridges are built over the Basingstoke Canal with less than 7'6" (2.250m) headroom above water level.

Of the various bridges across the canal those carrying the public highways have of course been kept in good condition, some have even been renewed quite recently. Some of the other smaller bridges are only used for occasional farm traffic and others are virtually never used at all. Although it would be an advantage to demolish all redundant bridges to save maintenance the Working Party feel that, subject to further survey, some should be retained as an attractive part of the canal scene, if Scheme C is adopted.

The lifting bridge at North Warnborough serves what is virtually a cul-de-sac lane with very little traffic. The swing bridge at Zebon Common carries a footpath. Both these bridges should be modified so that they can be easily and safely operated.

Embankments

Risk
Although the canal was designed as far as possible to follow the natural ground contours certain sections were built on embankments where low ground had to be crossed. Most of these embankments are relatively gentle but one or two have substantial banks which will require very careful supervision and maintenance. These banks would be vulnerable to erosion at the water's edge - both from waves caused by wind and from the wash of passing craft - and from the weakening effect of tree roots. Due to lack of maintenance in the past trees have been allowed to establish themselves on some of the embankments and in the early stages of restoration a careful survey should be made to see whether any of them could become a potential danger; if so they must be carefully removed. After restoration careful watch should be kept on the embankments and any weak points repaired without delay. Steel sheet piling may be required to reinforce particularly vulnerable points.

Safeguards
To reduce risk of bank erosion a margin of reeds and vegetation should be left along the waters edge (see diagram in Appendix F). As is done by the British Waterways Board a speed limit of 4 miles per hour for any craft using the canal must be rigidly enforced and anyone breaking that rule should have their licence immediately withdrawn. Tight controls can be kept on the engine size and hull design of craft licensed for day hire on the canal and the concessionaires should lose their operating licence if these restrictions are abused.

The effects of boats using the canal should be regularly monitored and the number of craft controlled by limiting the issue of licences at all points of entry.

As a further check two members of the Working Party inspected the Monmouthshire - Brecon Canal where the same situation exists and which is very popular for motor cruising. Having consulted the Chief Engineer to the British Waterways Board (Southern Region) and discussed the problem with Col. Bowen the Working Party feel that, provided the number and speed of craft are carefully controlled and a high standard of maintenance is observed, the embankments can be kept perfectly safe. But the situation must be carefully monitored and if required special restrictions imposed, even to the extent of banning motorised craft from the canal if experience shows this to be necessary.

Residential Houseboats

There are 47 residential houseboats on the Surrey length, some of which have been in position for many years. The Working Party assume that existing licences will be honoured, but suggest that before any new licences are granted the question of the siting and the provision of sanitary facilities should be looked into carefully to make sure that the general amenities of the canal are safeguarded.

Water Supply

The Working Party noted that Col. Bowen reported in 1970 that the existing water supply would be adequate to keep the whole canal in operation, allowing for lock usage and evaporation. In order to confirm this, the Greywell and Broad Oak sections, which are the main sources of supply, should be dredged in the early stages of restoration.

The possibility of obtaining income by selling water from the canal to adjoining consumers, such as the gas turbine establishment as Pyestock, was considered. But Col.Bowen advises that it would be unwise to assume at this stage that there would be any surplus for sale.

Contingency Planning for Emergencies

The Working Party has also considered what action should be taken to deal with sudden emergencies, such as flooding, that might occur in the initial stages, especially in the Hampshire length with its raised embankments.

The Surrey end Hampshire Canal Society have already arranged for their members to give early warning of any potential trouble. Lengthsmen have been organised, each with one mile of canal, and they regularly inspect and report back any warnings to their head lengthsman. Procedures should be made for these warnings to be conveyed to the Hampshire County Surveyor and the Surrey County Engineer, who should call out men to deal with any emergencies. A small stock of sandbags, timber and piles for first aid repairs should be kept at strategic points.

Summary of Recommendations

The canal from the Greywell Tunnel to the River Wey should be restored to permit the full range of uses, including navigation by motor cruisers, with suitable restrictions (see 7.1)

A charitable trust to be called The Basingstoke Canal Trust be established to restore, develop and manage the whole canal (see 9.5)

A Canal Manager be appointed at an early date to be responsible for the restoration, development and management of the whole canal (see 11.l)

The Basingstoke Canal Advisory Panel be established (see 10.1)

All new bridges should be built with not less than 7'6" (2.250m) headroom (see 13.2).

The footbridge at the junction with the River Wey should be reconstructed (see 3.5).

Emergency warning and call out arrangements be implemented in conjunction with the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, the Hampshire County Surveyor and the Surrey County Engineer (see 17.2).

URGENT ACTION

The Working Party feel that it is of fundamental importance that the canal be restored, developed and managed as one unit, and recommend that representatives of the two County Councils should meet and discuss these proposals as a matter of urgency.

APPENDICES

Appendix F

X-section of canal after dredging (24K)

Management structure (20K)

(Further appendices may be added later).

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Last updated April 2006