August 1967

Canal Company Plan
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Newsletter No. 6August 1967

In the middle of July, the Canal Company issued their long-awaited plan - which was heralded by the local press as "a bold plan for the canal's future". Basically, this boilad down to five main points: -

1. Eliminating the nuisance factor of the canal as a barrier to development;
2. Providing amenities for the public;
3. Confiming with local authorities the fact that the canal forms an integral part of a drainage system;
4. Seeking from local authorities monetary payments with regard to facilities provided and savings in routine expenditure;
5. Exploring facilities which could be provided if the canal was no longer treated as a means of through navigation;

The document expounded on these points in some detail, stating that all locks should be weired and that where development (road or building) takes place, consideration would be made for some cullverting, etc. This, of course, would mean ending the canal as a through navigation.

Your committee immediately issued a reply to this document which was circulated to all interested bodies, in which we stated all the reasons for retaining and restoring the navigation. We also drew the attention of the county councils to the fact that the running of the canal would be cheaper than the coot of main­taining a public park. We also questioned the logic of councils paying for facilities whilst the owners still maintain control.

Both documents achieved considerable publicity and there have been many letters in the local press, with an overwhelming majority on our side. It is up to individual members to make their views felt to both press and councils. To quote the words of one editorial: "Something of the sort (turning the canal into a park) should be tried first in any case. Once the canal is divided and built over it will bo too late to go back". For those who are interested, the canal company's policy is available from Harry D.Swales, solicitor, 24 Manchester Square, London, W.l. price 3s.6d. A few spare copies of our reply are available at 1s. from the Secretary.

The society, in conjunction with many others, will be joining in the activities during this week. The reason for Waterways Week is that toward the end of October the government White Paper outlining plans for the waterways network will be published. Obviously any future plans for local waterways will be influenced by national policy - so it is essential that all Waterways Week activities should be given maximum support so that we can convince the government that we are in earnest.

We will be arranging for copies of the signed petition to be taken from Basingstoke to London, mainly by water, but obviously some of the route will have to be overland. It is hoped that more petitions will bo collected en route. We are also trying to arrange for public display of tho petitions for signature in principal towns along the route of the Basingstoke Canal.

Details have yet to be finalised but will be announced in the next newsletter.

Volunteers are required, so please let the secretary know if you are prepared to help. There will also be a ramble along the western end of the canal. About petition forms: please return COMPLETED (not half full - surely you know at least 20 people) by the first week in October. More forms are available.

This is being held at the Design Centre during August. It is staged in association with the Civic Trust, and shows the scars that are being made in town and countryside around us by rubbish and bad planning, and illustrates how this can be prevented.

Lock keepers are still required for weekend activities.

The system of using members as postmen is proving successful and is saving us a lot of money in postage. We would like to hear from members in Ash and Woking who are interested in delivering newsletters.

The envelope stickers, for Waterways Week are available from the secretary at 1s, for 25 plus s.a.e. (stamps accepted). It helps to spread the word - and is good publicity.

The need for a duplicator becomes more urgent, and in order to try and raise funds we are arranging for a jumble sale to be held towards the end of October. It will take place in. Fleet. Please sort out jumble ready for donation.

This is still going ahead and volunteers are required. There will be some delay as we are taking tracings off maps, so that information can be collated on route. Please let us have names if interested, either to secretary or Paul Dyson, 53 Wyke Avenue, Ash, Aldershot, Hants.

Please remember Paul is still collecting news cuttings, and despite the coverage by many local papers he has received very few from members.

During the next couple of weeks we hope to produce a short history of the canal, with map. Orders are invited.

Secretary: J. Woolgar, 58 Connaught Crescent, Brookwood, Woking, Tel: B'wood 4064
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Last updated April 2005