November-December 1973

First steps of clearance
£98K - Your contribution
Ramblers' Corner
Sales Talk
Committee Notes
New Year canal holiday
From other areas
Official working at last
Waterways men back Surrey's canal

Contact the Society


    bcnmsthd50 (12K)

Newsletter No. 53.November - December 1973

As soon as the Hampshire County Council knew that the compulsory purchase order on their part of the Basingstoke canal was going ahead, they asked the Society to arrange a meeting to set up a committee to plan work on the canal three months in advance, Under Mr. Bonsey, the county land agent, the committee consists of:
Mr. Dixon, assistant land agent
Mike Griffiths, senior countryside warden
Major Johns, Ministry of Defence
Dave Gerry, Dave Robinson ) SHCS
Robin Higgs, Jeff Holman ) SHCS

At this stage we are clearing the towpath only so that engineers can get to the banks to make a full assessment of their condition, so bank repair and dredging can start in the New Year. The Council, for its part, has bought hand tools worth more than £200, but this is not nearly enough for the effort we hope to assemble. Two huts to keep the tools in have also been purchased, and a network of staff and communications set up to deal with bank bursts or other emergencies. The enthusiasm of the Council's staff knows no bounds. Ours must match it now we have to back up our promises with actions. The small team of countryside wardens is preparing the ground by approaching local landowners to gain access, arranging car parks and alerting local publicans. They will go round after the working parties to collect any forgotten tools or litter, damp down bonfires, etc.

As yet there is no official decision on the degree of restoration to be done, on the use to be made of the canal, or on a policy of navigation. It is essential that we throw in all our weight now, to show that we can do what we've claimed.

Major Johns, of the Ministry of Defence, has advised army units which want to take part in the work to affiliate with the Society. Some have already done so.

The last Newsletter offered everyone a job, and it seems that a great many of you took it up. The job was to write to the Department of the Environment supporting the Compulsory Purchase Orders made by the County Councils of Surrey and Hampshire, Mr E Bowen, of the Department, reports that the response was overwhelming, proving that in this instance at least the public is not indifferent to the decisions made by its Local Authority. The number of letters received, in excess of 190, may even be a record for a matter of this kind.

Everyone concerned with the preservation of the Basingstoke canal in an official capacity would like to thank the very many people who went out of their way to contact the Department of the Environment. This has made our job easier, and brought restoration closer.
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£98,000 - YOUR contribution
Enclosed with this newsletter is a working party questionnaire - again. I will apologise to those members who have completed earlier ones, but this one is very different. It is no longer a case of what work might you be prepared to do some time in the future should the canal ever pass into public ownership - it is what WILL you do NOW, for as you will know, the talking has stopped and the work has begun.

Those of you who have read the Joint Working Party Report (if you have not, see Sales Talk) will know that in the estimate for full restoration £98,000 has been included by way of contribution from volunteer labour - a massive 98,000 hours. Whilst we will obtain very valuable help from people such as Waterways Recovery Group, the vast majority of the input must come from YOU, the members of Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. Your committee have committed the Society, so please help us; otherwise it will take the ten of us some eleven years, working for sixteen hours every weekend to meet that obligation.

Don't wait until after Christmas or the spring - if you are prepared to help, complete the questionnaire NOW and forward it to me, Tony Jarrett, 1 Elms Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9EG. This might well be the third such form you have completed, but believe me this is the only one that matters - it is for real this time.

For some time a clandestine news sheet 'Restoration News' has been circulating to the private individuals who, in agreement with the New Basingstoke Canal Company, have been working on the canal. As far as the Hampshire section is concerned, the Society has agreed to take over the publication, and it will in future be sent ONLY to members who complete the questionnaire. Affiliated Groups - Any groups affiliated to the Society who would like to help in the restoration should contact Jeff Holman Telephone Brookwood 3034. In the case of schools, Francis Davies at Wavell County Secondary School, Aldershot has agreed to co-ordinate the effort from this section, and they should make contact with him.
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Ramblers' Corner: by John Peart, Farnborough
Sunday 9 December: meet at 10.30 at Chichester Station. 13 mile walk.
Note: In the event of petrol rationing or some other restriction on private motoring an alternative ramble will be organised. Meet instead at 1O.30 at Brookwood station for 13 miles of Basingstoke canal towpath to Fleet. Lunch at Ash Vale. No food available. The ramble we hope to run, from Chichester, is the first of the winter season's longer rambles, tracing the derelict Portsmouth and Arun canal between Chichester and Ford on the river Arun. We shall return to Chichester by train. It is worth noting that the Sussex Canal Trust is currently arousing public interest in a restoration scheme and is organising a trial working party at North Mundham. Any help from our members in that area would be welcomed on any Sunday. Map reference is 181/872024. Come along on the walk to see what the Sussex Canal Trust has taken on and compare the condition of this defunct waterway with our own Basingstoke canal. Lunch stop will be at the Nelson Arms, Colworth (map reference 181/905030) where Mrs Meager has offered the usual 'ploughman's', but please book lunch by 2 December. Telephone me on Farnborough 46554.

Mick Fairless, who organises the transport for the Society, is short of drivers. Anyone who has a current driving licence and would be prepared to spend a little time driving the landrover or other vehicles for the Society, particularly carrying equipment to and from work parties, is asked to contact him on Ripley 3600.
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Sales Talk Tony Jarrett, Fleet 5308
Enclosed with this newsletter is a new comprehensive list in time for Christmas, and there should be something in it to interest everyone.

Maps - follow the restoration with the help of our 6" maps.
Why not buy your husband one of our smart ties - only a few left, and we have no plans to place another order. Another item for the man in 'your life - a Waterways tea towel.
Planning next season's cruising? Buy your cruising guides now. Just to show we do recognise that our canal is not the only one in the south, we include two new books on the Kennet and Avon.
Stocking fillers - how about a cut-out cardboard narrow boat?
Something else for the children - 'Fun on the Waterways' or 'Getting to know Boats'.
How well do you know your country? - Shire's Discovery Series might surprise you.
Would you like to know more - much more - about the canal builders? - The 'Lifelines Series' is for you.
You think the Basingstoke's in a bad condition - read about the 'Lost Canals of England and Wales' - and then perhaps set out in the car to see some of them.
So you can't understand all this nostalgia about the old working boats - read 'English Canals Part III Boats and Boatmen' - that should put you right.
So, madam, I am wasting your time - your husband has all the above books and 'Bradshaws' and 'Narrow Boats' - well what about John Gagg's 'Canaller's Bedside Book', the ideal bed companion? If you are frightened to make a decision in case it's the wrong one - then why not give one of our gift vouchers?
Don't forget your inland Waterways Calendar for 1974 or our attractive Christmas cards. If any of our shopkeeper members would be prepared to sell some of the cards, please ring me. I know some people will not buy anything unless they can see it first; we can cater for you too - why not come along to one of our open days?
The following days between 2p.m. and 5p.m.-
Saturday, 1 December at 1 Elms Road, Fleet - turn off Kings Road into Wood Lane, and Elms Road is the first- turning on the right.
Sunday, 9 December at The Coppice, Chobham Road,- Camberley. From Frimley direction, The Coppice is the first private road on the right after Heatherside. Estate.

Job Vacant
At the end of the year I would like to relinquish my job of Sales Manager which I have held for two years. My wife and I now need the third bedroom which has become my office and stock room, and also I do not think I can do justice to both this and my new job in connection with working party planning. If you are interested, why not give me a ring and I will give you some idea of what is involved?
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Committee Notes Robin Higgs, vice-chairman. Chobham
At long last things are really getting quite exciting as the restoration of the Basingstoke canal, in Hampshire at least, gets under way in earnest. As you vill no doubt be reading about elsewhere, after seven long and often frustrating years of campaigning, the culmination of which was the public inquiry held in Farnborough during October, the Hampshire section of the canal passed into public ownership on 1 November. This gives us plenty to think about, and we are now jointly with the Hampshire County Council deciding on our priorities for the programming of the actual restoration itself. We have been taking stock of the present physical condition of the canal, and deciding who will be best fitted to undertake specific tasks connected with the restoration. This of course means that we are going to need from you, the members, every bit of support we can get, because this is truly a mammoth undertaking. We have always said that we should get your support on the day, and I am quite sure we shall. We feel very strongly that for the public to really value and care for this canal they must be involved, up to the hilt, in its restoration.

The committee is endeavouring to compile reports on various aspects of restoration. This is so that a completely authenticated case can be made out to justify our objectives, in environmental terms, and to put at rest the minds of those people who may have, probably through ignorance, certain reservations about what we are proposing. So if any of you are prepared to help, preferably in a technical way, with such things as noise levels, depths of water and hull shape as they relate to bank erosion, pollution, water supplies and effects on wild life etc. we should be glad to hear from you. (David Gerry, Fleet 22520).

Whilst we are talking of involvement, I think it may not be premature to remind you that the AGM will be on 16 February. If anyone would like to stand for the committee would you please see that nominations are with the secretary (address back page) by 10 January. These must be proposed and seconded in writing by two fully paid up members of the Society and should also state the willingness of the nominee to stand. In our attempts to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, we are continually altering and re- structuring our sub-committees. Here I am sure we could involve many more of you in the affairs of the Society, without your necessarily getting too involved in much of the general administrative work in which you may not be interested.

Things like fund-raising we shall really have to think about more seriously in the future, and for this reason we have strengthened our Publicity, Design and Sales sub-committee by the inclusion of Stan Goodge. He has had considerable experience in acquiring equipment and raising money for the salvage of the sunken naval galleon, the Mary Rose, now residing beneath the sea somewhere in the Solent.

The working party side will be glad of help in many ways, from vehicle driving and maintenance, sharpening tools, repairing equipment to bricklaying and carpentry and, most important of all, just turning out at weekends.

So there it is, exciting times are ahead of us, and the committee is looking forward to your all getting involved in one way or another. It can be very rewarding. Don't forget it's your canal!

You want a talker?
Now that things are really moving, the Society is receiving more and more press coverage. This is leading to more public interest in our activities and aims. Local groups of any kind (WI, Scouts, gardening or fishing clubs etc.) who would like to know more about the history of the canal, its impact on local affairs, and now the new developments concerning it, are very welcome to approach the Society for speakers for local meetings. We can arrange talks with or without accompanying slides, on many topics associated with the canal, and are always very pleased to do so. If you are interested, or know any group or society which may be, please contact the secretary, Mrs F. Creasey (address on back page).
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A canal holiday over the New Year?
I have heard on the grapevine that the fortnight's holiday fourteen S & H C S members, one baby squirrel and a homing pigeon had on the narrow boats 'Chiltern' and 'Dorset' last summer was considered a great success. As co-organiser with Andrew Howard my modesty compels me to admit that the rumours are all too true. We did eat 10 gallons of porridge, among other incredible quantities of food, and the only one of the party who died en route was the sqirrel - and I'm sure that was a just retribution to him for never doing any washing- up.

Ours was the first full length narrow boat to navigate the Leek Arm of the Caldon canal beyond Leek tunnel for many years; the total distance of 1-1/2- miles took us 24 hours hard work! We became stars of press and radio - well, two local papers and BBC Radio Stoke, and I'm still wondering whether the latest roof fall blocking the Harecastle tunnel had anything to do with our passage through a few days before. Experiences like these (especially that porridge) make a holiday to remember and now there is another chance for anyone who wishes to experience them. I am planning not one but three trips next year. The first is very soon - 29 December to 4 January - spend New Year on the cut! It is a week's trip for twelve people in a 60 feet traditional style (pseudo) narrow boat cruiser. All mod. cons, including H & C water, shower and calor gas heater. Starting point Birmingham, the route will depend on what canals British Waterways keeps open at that time:of year. Cost for food and hire of boat is approximately £11 per person.

The second trip is planned for March 30 to April 6 and will be on the narrow boats 'Dorset' and 'Chiltern' again. The object is to get round the Cheshire Ring of waterways if they reopen as planned on March 31 - and we can always go somewhere else if they don't. Approximate cost for food and boat hire will be £9 per person. The third trip is a fortnight in the summer, planned route to include the Upper Avon Navigation which should be open by then if the Navigation Trust is given more money. Cost will be about £12 per person per week. Dates are still to be fixed.

Members (and anyone else) interested in these trips should let me know immediately, especially for the Christmas and Easter trips at this address: Peter Walker, 3 Woodhouse Cliff, Leeds 6.
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The British Waterways Board has sent us the following announcement concerning the Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey canal:
A further collapse of the lining of Harecastle Tunnel has meant closure to navigation as from September 10 to enable the British Waterways Board to carry out remedial work. In the light of this further collapse a comprehensive survey of the condition of the lining of this 150 year old tunnel is shortly to be carried out to ascertain all necessary maintenance works. Permanent work will also be undertaken at the site of the previous collapse which occurred on July 16, when temporary repairs were made.

It is unlikely that the tunnel will be open to traffic this year, although it is hoped to keep the Staffs, and Worcs. (North) and Shropshire Union canals open to provide an alternative route north.

All efforts will be made to keep the period of closure down to a minimum. Notice regarding the reopening will be made as early as possible. Anyone requiring further information should contact Doreen Younghusband of the BWB Press and Publicity Office, on 01-262-6711, extension 6343.
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Lost Book
Will the member who borrowed the book 'London's Lost Route to Basingstoke' from the landlord of the Fox & Hounds in Fleet, please return it to him as soon as possible. _ So£iety Diary David Robinson, Fleet 21376

Film evenings Wednesday 12 December:
1. Ride the white horses
2. Who cares for England
3. Antarctic crossing

Wednesday 9 January 1974:
1. Something can be done about water
2. Pipeline through the fens
3. Beauty in Trust
Everybody is welcome to come along to these film evenings, held each month at the Kings Head, Guildford Road, Frimley Green, starting at 8.60p.m. So far this year we have been able to welcome several new faces,, so if you have not been to a film evening before, why not try it?

Pub evenings
Monday 26 November, Swan Inn, Hutton Road, Ash Vale
Monday 10 December, New Inn, Odiham

Please note that the gathering on the last Monday in December is New Year's Eve, so the meeting at the Swan for that night has been put back to 7 January.
Do come along to these informal gatherings. As well as a good excuse for a drink, they are a pleasant way to catch up on all the Society gossip. If you come for the first time, just march up to someone who looks as though he's buying a round and introduce yourself. We'd love to see some new faces.

At long last we are to have a much needed jumble sale. For this we are indebted to our Member Mrs Saunders from Bordon, who has agreed to become our jumble sales organiser. The jumble sale will be held on Saturday 8 December at 2.30p.m. in. the Methodist Hall, South Street, Farnham. We need your jumble and your help. One problem common to all jumble sale organisers is the storage of jumble prior to the sale. Therefore we ask all members to sort out their jumble and deliver it to the hall after 11. 30 on the day or have it ready for collection a few days prior to the sale. If you have jumble for collection please 'phone Mrs Saunders, Bordon 3487 or David Robinson, Fleet 21376 or your nearest committee member.

To make the jumble sale a success we need helpers on the morning to sort the jumble and sales people for the afternoon. Come on, all you Farnham members, we have got to beat the £60 taken at the last jumble sale, so please 'phone Mrs Saunders if you can help.
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Newsletter number 51
Regrettably there was something of a problem with the printing of Newsletter number 51 (July/August) and not enough copies were printed. We are very sorry, but there are no copies left to be sent to those members who did not receive one. Should you have a copy of number 51 lying around and you don't usually file them, I should be very glad to have them, as one or two members who keep their copies and have Newsletters going back for years are now short of one.       Editor.

Boat for sale - Greywell. Robert Harris's 16ft converted lifeboat; 2 berth; cooker; recent new Seagull outboard; moorings at New Haw; traditionally painted. sadly needs new loving home. Offers? Alton 85283.

Editor's notes We are always pleased to accept relevant advertisements from members, for which no charge is made. However, a donation to the Society funds for the service would be gratefully received. Send to the editor or the Treasurer, Peter Youngs, The Coppice, Chobham Road, Camberley, Surrey.

The dredger
The dredger is a going concern once more. After much sweat, blood, toil and language (to coin a phrase) the wheels started turning again in the middle of November. We are at present going through a final insurance inspection before the dredger is declared fit to work.

All is not yet finished, however; there is still a lot of chipping and painting to be done, now mainly inside, so volunteers are still required. During the winter months parties have been reduced and are as published in Restoration News each month, or contact George Welsh on Fleet 7831 or Ian Cripps on Fleet 7831 for details.
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Official working at last
Now we can work officially; the first working party is arranged for 17-18 November. Unfortunately this Newsletter will not reach most of you in time. The London based WRG has been invited to bolster up members for this weekend. The SHCS has its first big working weekend scheduled for 1-2 December.

The site for both weekends is westward from the Barley Mow Bridge, OS ref, 778538} the work is towpath clearance as far as Broad Oak, starting at 9.30am. It is hoped to achieve this by Christmas, but this depends on YOU turning up to help. We are also digging out the bridge hole, to full depth, to allow HCC engineers to inspect the bridge foundations, and to provide stop plank grooves and the associated apron. If you are able to join us, please bring, and use, any cutting tools, eg log saw, sickles, hooks etc (no chain saws thank you). In the event of the first working party taking us well away from Barley Mow Bridge, please follow signs and/or the noticeboard at the bridge.

Groups of workers who have been quietly trimming jungle for the last two years can now come into the open and receive your support - they have had the committee's for a long time.
1. Greywell tunnel to Broad Oak - under supervision of Clem Hebert, The Grange, Hook, Hants. Hook 2438.
2. Fleet area - George Welsh, 47 Farnham Road, Fleet 3. Claycart Bridge towards Aldershot - Frank Jones, 182 Rectory Road, Farnborough 45032.
4. Ash Embankment, Ash lock - Rod Smith, 42 Oak Avenue, Owlsmoor, Camberley. Crowthorne 2594.
Also at the Surrey end of the canal, 'Pablo' Haworth is using the Society's dinghy, Clear-cut, to remove floating rubbish from the first lock cut and junction area. Contact 6 Eden Close, New Haw, Byfleet 42081.

The dinghy has been expertly repaired and painted by Mr Robin Jacobs of Brookwood.

Thanks to T.S.Trafalgar of Wimbledon for a gift of 8 telegraph poles; these possibly can be useful as balance beams; also to our transport team for an energetic morning's work collecting the timber.

Required - outboard engine in 5-10 hp range, long shaft. Must have neutral and reverse and a generator. Details please to Tony Jarrett, Fleet 5308.
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Buying boats
Thinking of buying a new boat? We've just completed negotiations with several boatbuilders for discounts for our members. Full details will appear in the next newsletter.

Have you a footbridge?
We are still looking for a footbridge to go over the canal where it joins the River Wey. Do you know of one?
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Waterways men back Surrey's canal project - the Inquiry. Report by Les Harris
This was the front page headline of the Surrey Advertiser for 5 October. It referred of course to our representation at the Public Local Inquiry at Farnborough Town Hall into the Surrey and Hampshire County Councils' Basingstoke canal compulsory purchase orders, which have yet to be confirmed by the Secretary of State for the Environment.

The first day brought good news - over 190 letters of support had been received for the orders. Mr. Martin (Deputy Clerk for Hampshire) told the government inspector, Mr. Stedham that the sale of the Hampshire length had been agreed and the County Council would take possession on 1 November. It also appeared that all but one of the objectors in Hampshire had withdrawn including the New Basingstoke Canal Co Ltd. In spite of the sale agreement Mr. Martin asked for confirmation of the purchase order so that the County Council could be quite sure of having complete ownership. Hampshire CC then presented its case for compulsorily purchasing the canal. Colonel Bowen, at one time Chief Engineer to the Thames Conservancy, gave evidence. He had prepared a report to the Hampshire end of the canal for the CC. He said it was evident that the canal was not receiving its normal water supply and that this vas traced primarily to a defective culvert which was allowing water to escape into the River Whitewater. He stressed the need to acquire and maintain the embankments since most of the canal in Hampshire is above the level of the surrounding land, Col. Bowen said the canal should be restored, could be an amenity and be made safe. The use of powered boats would need caution in the early stages.

Mr. Bonsey, the County Land Agent and Valuer, gave evidence. He mentioned the representations that had been received from the various bodies to restore the canal for recreational purposes, that it would be an expensive task and as it was obvious that the owners of the canal had neither the desire nor the resources to carry it out the two County Councils came to the conclusion that it was essential in the public interest to acquire it. When possession of the Hampshire length takes place the programme of repair and restoration would be started without delay. £35,000 had been allocated in next year's capital estimates. It will probably take 4 or 3 years to complete the restoration and repair, during which time it is hoped that Surrey CC will be embarking on a similar programme so that the canal as a whole should be back in usable condition before 1980. The final decision on the extent of the restoration and uses to which the canal is put, will have to be taken by the new County Council, which replaces the present one on April 1975.

The following day it was Surrey CC's turn. Mr. Thompson, the Deputy Clerk, said that about 140 objections had been made to the Surrey order including one from the Canal Company. He said 'I think it can be accepted that a fundamental reason for the inability to agree a sale is agreement on price'. Mr Thompson spoke of the support for the order which had come from a number of national bodies and the district councils "through whose areas the canal runs". The Surrey CC deputy planning officer, Mr R.P. Harris, presented the amenity case for acquiring the canal and described the lands to be included. He produced photographs to show the deteriorating condition of the canal. The houseboats had no planning permission but their future would be decided when the canal was acquired.

It was assumed that the existing licences would be honoured. Cross examined by Mr. Swales, the solicitor acting for the Canal Company, Mr. Harris said he could not accept that because of the 28 locks in Surrey, no angling association vould be prepared to spend money on stocking. Mr. Harris recognised the conflict between anglers and other users, but with good will on both sides the conflict could be resolved. Mr. Swales asked if the canal could be considered part of a nation-wide network. Mr. Harris replied that it could. Mr. Swales asked if Mr Harris thought the peaceful benefit of the canal to its users would be improved by motor cruising. 'Yes, I do', replied Mr. Harris. When asked if he could guarantee that power boats would not be used Mr. Harris replied no. Mr. Swales said 'Then it seems that this inquiry is looking into a proposed compulsory purchase of a canal by a Council which does not know what it is going to do with it'. Mr. Harris said that the reorganisation of local government was the reason for this. Next Mr. Grevatt, a Surrey CC chartered civil engineer gave technical evidence ahd details of the schemes in the working party report (prepared jointly by Hampshire CC, Surrey CC, the Army and SHCS). He said the working party had recommended Scheme C (full restoration) in the report but that there is no decision on this. Mr. Swales cross examined Mr. Grevatt and asked if any investigation was carried out into the supply of water in Surrey for the canal. Mr. Grevatt said there was some water but not enough for working the locks. When asked where the water would come from if not from Surrey, Mr. Grevatt said it would come from the springs at Greywell. Mr. Swales said that there was no right to water coming into Surrey from Hampshire. He wanted to know, and the public wanted to know, what was going to happen to the canal if and when it was acquired, what it was going to cost and whether it was a monumental folly or a practical proposition.

Mr. Swales felt that the cost of dredging in Scheme A of the working party report (minimum restoration, locks replaced by weirs) was too high, but Mr. Grevatt was satisfied with the figure. Mr. Swales suggested the cost of Scheme C might be higher. Mr. Thompson re-examined Mr. Grevatt who said he was satisfied that the figures were a reasonable estimate and that it was inconceivable that Hampshire CC would not make water available to Surrey.

Mr. Swales then opened the case for hearing the objections of the New Basingstoke Canal Co and its two associated companies S E Cooke & Co (Properties) Ltd and Waterways Properties Ltd. Mr. Swales outlined the history up to the present time and the problems of the previous and present owners. He mentioned the Company's memorandum on its proposals to replace the locks with weirs, and the canal bridges with causeways. The Company contended that there was not enough water in Surrey for motor boat cruising and even if enough were obtained the quiet amenity would be destroyed. It would cause erosion of the banks and pollution in the canal. The canal was also a cul-de-sac. He mentioned the SHCS's efforts to get the canal used for powered boats and that if it was solely a matter of valuation the Company would not be at the inquiry. The basis on which the canal was being offered was as a water channel and this was being disregarded by Surrey CC. The Company was objecting to this.

Mr. Farren, a chartered engineery was called by Mr. Swales to give technical evidence. He stated that there was insufficient water in Surrey to operate the locks and even if water came from Hampshire there was not enough on the scale needed in the working party report. Mr. Farren estimated that Scheme A would cost £45,000, allowing £700 per weir, and Scheme C £340,000 (allowing £10,000 per lock). Powered boats would have to be restricted in speed to control bank erosion and 1.25 miles of moorings would be needed. David Gibson (our solicitor) cross examined Mr. Farren, who said he had no other canal experience except that of the Basingstoke canal. No alternative sources for water haJ been investigated and he agreed that it was technically possible to increase the water supply. One million gallons of water per day, estimated Mr. Farren, going into the River Wey from the canal, would provide 22 lockfulls per day. David quoted a figure of £3,500 per lock for the Kennet and Avon canal, and said volunteer labour could be used on the Basingstoke canal. A speed limit of 4mph was common on canals and there eould be a restriction on engine size and hull shape to prevent wash. He pointed out that the Llangollen canal is the most popular in the country and this also is a cul-de-sac, and that the water is abstracted for water supply. The Thames byelaws, which extended to the Basingstoke canal, prohibit sea toilets. On British Waterways it is planned to have a sanitary station for Elsans every 20 miles and on the Broads there are pump-out systems being installed. He considered that marinas were better than long lines of moorings.

Mr. Farren agreed that deeper dredging would tend to reduce wash. David Gibson next gave a statement on behalf of the Inland Waterways Association. This described the work and function of the IWA, the increase in demand for water recreation and a section on the Basingstoke canal, giving the history since 1949, when it was sold to the present owners. This was a very good and full statement. It may be possible to produce it as a separate article at a later date. There was one note of warning in the statement; it said that when we say we wholeheartedly support the Councils this is subject to one caveat - that the canal is restored for navigation as proposed in Scheme C of the Working Party Report. There will be no voluntary labour from the enthusiastic 'navvy' unless this is so.

David Gibson brought David Gerry (SHCS Chairman) to give evidence. He told the inspector of the unsuccessful attempts of the Society to find common ground with the canal company. He mentioned the £98,000 worth of voluntary labour in the working party's report and the set of lock gates the Society presented to the County Councils, The Society had collected 15,000 signatures to a petition to acquire the canal by the County Councils. He spoke of the shortage of public open space and amenities in the area and the need to use derelict land to the maximum advantage.

Mr. Swales cross examined David Gibson and David Gerry. Mr. Swales asked David Gibson if he thought the canal company should have developed the canal at a loss. David said he thought they could have done more. Mr. Swales asked if he knew of the incident where Police were called to a working party where members of the Canal Society were present. David denied that the Society organised the working party. Mr. Swales said 'I did not say that'. David replied 'I am told a member of the Conservative Party was present - does this imply that they were involved?' (laughter). Mr. Swales queried what 'duck ponds'. David Gibson said he was prepared to accept the working party recommendations.

On water supply Mr. Swales said Mr. Gibson was scratching about for water. Mr. Swales asked David Gerry if he considered the Canal Society was wholly responsible for the inquiry. David replied that he thought the Society had contributed substantially. Asked about research into water supplies, David Gerry said there had been no scientific research by the Society but it obtained informed opinion from members who knew the canal. David agreed that HCC would have to spend money to supply Surrey with water but added money would be needed to get rid of surplus water if Surrey did not take it, or risk flooding. David Gerry said we knew that there was some opposition to powered boats in Hampshire. A representative of the houseboat owners questioned David Gibson; many do not want full restoration. Mr. Cochrane (Fishery Officer, Addlestone Angling Club) and a Natural History supporter Mr. McNeill of Brookwood were against powered craft. Mr. Swales summed up for the Canal Company. Among many other points Mr. Swales suggested that the working party report figures were biased towards Scheme C and that the 'Best Buy' was really Scheme A (partial restoration).

He asked the inspector to modify the compulsory purchase order to confine it to the waterway, 8 feet of land on the towpath side and a 6 feet right of access on the other side. (This is all owned by the New Basingstoke Canal Co Ltd) and that it should be accompanied by a modification or covenant that the waterway would never be used by powered craft. He asked that the order as it relates to S E Cooke & Co (Properties) Ltd and Waterways Properties Ltd should not be confirmed except as regards additional parts such as embankments which might be added. Mr. Swales concluded by asking that the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society should be held responsible for a payment or contribution to his client's fees. More objectors gave statements; many were houseboat owners who are worried about their future on the canal. Some objections were withdrawn from residents at Woodham and Deepcut when it was made known that the Council would only require an access agreement over their gardens and many expressed their support for the Order. Mr. Campbell of the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society read a statement fully supporting the Orders, pointing out that several railway stations along the canal made access from London easy for walkers.

Mr. Thompson in his closing address for Surrey CC pointed out that Hampshire CC was buying the canal without any restrictions on powered boats and that the powered boat issue was outside the scope of the inquiry. No decision had been made on the use of powered boats on the canal. The canal was being purchased for open air recreation and this objective has become obscured in exchanges between the Canal Company and the Canal Society. The suggestion that Hampshire water would not be available to Surrey was too remote to consider. Mr. Thompson said that a memorandum by the Canal Company said that if parts of the canal were unused, building could take place over them. This would enhance the value of the canal, said Mr. Thompson, but if through navigation were maintained this would be impractical. The County Council could not subscribe to development of this kind. At the end of his address Mr. Thompson asked the Secretary of State to approve the order. The decision will be announced in due course.

Hon Sec: Mrs F. Creasey, 108 Union Street, Farnborough, Hants. Tel. Farnborough 43114
Newsletter editor: Mrs M. Holmes, 75 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants. Tel. Fleet 3297
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Last updated April 2005