No. 149 JANUARY 1990
A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
OVER the past few weeks, it has become apparent that the list of jobs to be done to complete restoration of the canal in Surrey is growing rather than diminishing. Some of the work may be identified as maintenance but all of it can be classified as essential to re-opening and operating the canal efficiently as a fully navigable waterway.
The trouble is there is no single person responsible for co-ordinating the final drive to complete restoration. In the past, when there was a great deal more work to be done, overall co-ordination was not so important. So long as there were locks to repair, the Society was able to plan its own voluntary work programme, while the county council undertook other works such as dredging.
As restoration work has been narrowed down, so the need to co-ordinate the work of volunteers, the full-time team and contractors has become a key factor to an early completion.
Maintenance work, undertaken by the county's rangers, must also be related and priorities agreed to achieve the goal.
The Society's full time team leader, Frank Jones, has and continues to do a creditable job managing the restoration programme in Surrey, both on behalf of the Society and the county council. But with major maintenance work on the Deepcut flight and at Woking, it is stretching his resources beyond his terms of reference to identify, plan and execute maintenance and restoration work.
That's why the Society has called for an urgent review of outstanding work to be identified, a timetable set out and for the canal director to take control immediately.
Already the aim to re-open the canal by May or June, for the start of the new season, looks doubtful. A date in August or September, heralding the end of the season, now seems more likely. In consequence the operating period may be too short for an official opening ceremony to be held in the spring of 1991.
But it is still not too late to see the canal reopened this summer as planned, providing the local authority owners make a resolve to meet that objective.
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UNIQUE ROLE FOR JMC?
A NEW YEAR, let alone a new decade, is also
a time for making predictions.
One prediction is that the canal will have lost a great deal of its charm and amenity value by the end of the 1990's if the planners and developers are allowed to ignore the presence of the waterway, or even use it to embellish their encroachments.
Protecting the canal's environment must be one of the Society's top objectives in the coming decade.
Fortunately public opinion is increasingly sympathetic to stemming the relentless tide of market forces that dictate our environment which has a tremendous bearing on the quality of life.
The Woking News and Mail recently picked up local issues from our 'Waterside Watch' column which is perhaps, indicative of public interest in such matters.
And the Joint Management Committee has taken up the issue of preserving the open space of Brookwood Lye along the canal hospital grounds opposite between Brookwood and St. Johns.
The JMC could usefully take the lead in protecting the canal's environment. Among its members are local and district councillors who are well versed and closely involved in matters of planning. Here is an area in which the JMC, as an authority, could make its own valuable and distinctive mark, and not simply act as a rubber stamp for the decisions of management officers.
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THE SOCIETY is still pressing for one of the original options which was to take the Blackwater Valley Relief road under the canal by means of an aqueduct.
Support for the aqueduct option has come from Hampshire councillor Mrs Shelagh Stephenson who was reported to have commented: 'Proposals to drop the canal are environmentally unacceptable to the vast majority of local people. The road must go under the canal... The £4.4m saving may well be a lot of money, but no one has said anything about the cost of the upkeep of the canal if it is dropped to the level of the River Blackwater'.
Scene from Norris Bridge - John Pinkerton with a barge in tow heading for Deepcut dry dock. (Photos: Dieter & Sonia Jebens and Clive Durley. Processing: Freelance Photo Services, Alison Snell & Clive Durley).
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COUNTDOWN TO COMPLETION by Peter Cooper
WORK continues steadily, and the finish of the restoration task gets gradually nearer. As before, the work is very much a combined operation between the full time workers and the volunteers, with some visits from outside groups.
Lock 2 at Woodham is now almost completely restored; the dam above it has been removed, and the towpath above and below this lock has been raised and levelled. The full time team have been helping houseboats back to their moorings after dredging, and one of these houseboats, the Wenona, was recently the first boat to lock through Lock 2. The main scene of work has now moved to Lock 3, where the dam at the bottom is being removed, and piling and other reinforcements are being installed at the top of the lock. A modest start is being made to dismantle the compound, and finishing touches are being applied to the bridges at Locks 4,5 and 6.
KESCRG volunteers at Woking
Further up, the towpath has been raised at Monument Bridge, and a major offside clearance operation is underway at the western end of Woking, near the site of the old Step Bridge. Dredging in the Woking area is due to take place shortly.
The hot dry summer has caused water levels to drop in Surrey, and some pounds have dried out; as a result, it has been possible to remove considerable debris from the chambers of certain locks, notably Locks
28, 25 and 18. In a more constructive vein, lock gate building continues, and only six gates (the uppers of Lock 3 and all of Lock 4) have now to be built. However, delays in resolving the matter of the lake at Sheerwater mean that completion of restoration is not now likely until after June 1990.
There continue to be volunteer working parties most weekends, though we cannot guarantee one every weekend. You should contact your working party leader a few days before the date, to check there is a working party, and to find out what it will be doing, and where. Working party leaders are:
First weekend of the month —
PETER JONES on Aldershot 313076
Second weekend of the month -
DAVID JUNKISON on 019410685 or DAVE LUNN (temporarily not on the phone).
Third weekend of the month —
PETER REDWAY on Woking 835711.
The overall co-ordinator of this work is FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
If you are able to come along and help on the canal during the week, even if only for a few days, you should contact FRANK JONES (phone numbers above) and he will find you something useful to do.
Hampshire Bankside Work
1st and 3rd Sundays — 7 Jan, 21 Jan, 4 Feb, 18 Feb, 4 Mar, 18 Mar.
This party continues to do offside clearance work in the Crookham area, between Chequers Bridge and Double Bridge. This is unskilled work, mainly concerned with attempting to control the rampant vegetation, and is suitable for unskilled workers and family groups. The meeting place is Chequers Bridge. For further details contact PETER JACKMAN on Woking 772132.
Dredging in Hampshire
Water levels are now recovering from the long drought, but dredging was not resumed immediately because planning permission to use the existing dump site had expired. This has now been renewed for a further 12 months, until December 1990. If all goes according to plan, the dredger should arrive at Reading Road Wharf early this year. During the period of no dredging, a boiler inspection was carried out, and modifications have been made to the superstructure of the tugs, to enable them to get under Reading Road Bridge. The team have also given support to the HCC rangers work at Reading Road Wharf.
It is hoped that, after this unplanned break, all dredger crew members will be able to pick up the threads again, and new recruits are always welcome.
For further details contact ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956.
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MAP showing location of the 500ft long by 50ft wide silted up canalside lake, below Monument Bridge, which is holding up completion of the Sheerwater length. As the lake is connected to the canal it must be dredged otherwise flooding will occur once the waterway is refilled.
With a need to reach agreement with 10 lakeside householders, some of whom have apparently obtained possession of the lake while other parts still belong to the last owner, the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. the County Council has faced a protracted negotiation problem. The Council now has agreement from all but one riparian landowner to dredge, but it is hopeful of a satisfactory outcome shortly.
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FOR THE first time, at its November meeting, the Joint Management Committee reviewed two major riparian development proposals and the need for silt dump sites.
Members heard that Woking Borough Council had designated the open land on both sides of the canal between Brookwood Bridge and Hermitage Bridge, as Green Belt. The only exception being the hospital land immediately to the north of the winding hole, at Hermitage Bridge Road, for which a marina and housing development are planned (see 'Waterside Watch' BC News 148).
But the Local Plan Inspector thinks otherwise. In his report he has substantially reduced the Green Belt area, covering the hospital grounds to the western part of the open space, from the pond roughly midway between the two bridges, to Bagshot Road. The remainder of the land has been recommended for informal recreation but not given Green Belt status.
This will 'give flexibility to future reviews', JMC members were told, as the inspector is 'mindful that future housing and other needs will have to be provided for'.
'Any future development, however well it is planned, will affect the open character of the canal in the area', members were told. 'To the east and west of Brookwood the canal passes urban and semi-built up areas and this open land provides a pleasant countryside atmosphere on the very edge of the built up area of Woking' it was reported.
JMC members agreed to express their concern, at the loss of the Green Belt status of the riparian hospital land, to Woking Council.
Blackwater Valley Relief Road
As reported in the November issue of BC News, the question of how the Blackwater Valley Road will cross the canal was also raised at the JMC meeting.
The recommended schemes for crossing Ash Embankment are due to be published for public consultation. It was agreed that a working party will be formed representing council officers from Hampshire and Surrey, the district councils affected, the Society and the Nature Conservancy Council, to discuss the proposals.
Silt Dump Sites
Finding riparian sites to dump silt has been troubling Hampshire County Council. In Surrey the problem has not arisen because the majority of excavations were 'dry' and generally dumped along the banks of the canal. But the problem of dumping wet silt in future will require specifically prepared sites.
A working party, to identify suitable sites, has been formed to seek the assistance of local planning authorities in earmarking sites as a matter of urgency.
Peter Coxhead reports on the latest developments listed in the November issue of BC News.
77 Gateway, Woodham
An application for backland development has been rejected and the developer has, apparently, withdrawn his bid to purchase the land. Strong objections, supported by the Society, were made by a group of local residents led by Mr Stanley Cereley. It's good to report a success.
Victoria Hospital site, Woking
Outline planning permission has
been granted to the Hilton Group for a modified plan to build a lower level hotel on the hospital site. But the regional health authority will be seeking the market price for this central site, so the scheme is far from finalised.
Brewery Road car park site
Woking's planning committee still has to consider Holiday Inns' proposed hotel on this site. The company's been selling their scheme hard, but we're looking more amenity development of the canal and proposed mooring basin.
Bridge over Victoria Way, Woking
We're in direct contact with the designers of the proposed footbridge link between Brewery Road car park and the Peacock's development. This way we hope to protect the canal's environment.
Kiln Bridge, St. John's
Despite our disapproval of various proposals, Wlmpey's have gained consent to build houses alongside Lock 11. We'll be keeping an eagle eye for any sign of encroachment onto the public amenity area from the Tyre Centre to the lockside.
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LIMIT ON BOAT NUMBERS
THE wrangle over motor boat cruising on the Basingstoke Canal and wildlife conservation surfaced again at a meeting in November of the canal's Joint Management Committee in a crucial vote over the number of additional licences to be made available in 1990 when the waterway is expected to be re-opened throughout its 32 mile length.
With the prospect of boats reaching the canal again from the River Wey Navigation, the Inland Waterways Association, representing boating interests on the JMC, proposed that the existing number of annual motor boat licences should be increased by 150, and that no limit should be placed on the number of visitor licences.
The IWA's bid was made as a result of a 3-year survey, among boat owners on the Wey Navigation and other waterways, which revealed that 650 boaters wished to cruise on the Basingstoke in the first year of it reopening. 380 respondents stated their intention to apply for an annual licence: anticipating that such a demand would be unacceptable, but wishing to enable all prospective boats to visit the canal at least once, the IWA proposed to put the emphasis on visitors licences which would ensure maximum flexibility in the management's ability to control actual numbers.
By contrast the Nature Conservancy Council, which is planning to designate a continuous 25 mile length of the canal a site of Special Scientific Interest, proposed no increase in the number of annual licences, as 55 motor boat licences had not been taken up in 1989, but was prepared to accept a limit of 120 visitor licences against its own proposal for 100.
Aiming to bridge the gap and seek a compromise, the Society called for an additional 50 annual and 500 visitor licences, believing that would cater, at least, for those who had already expressed a desire to navigate the canal.
In the event JMC members voted in favour of 50 extra annual licences for motor boats, but rejected, by only one vote, the Society's motion for 500 visitor licences. Instead members approved, on the casting vote of the Chairman, Hampshire Councillor Maurice Jones who tabled the
amendment, to limit short term licences to 200.
The decision disappointed the IWA representative, Brian Percy, chairman of the Guildford and Reading branch, who had conducted the survey to assess interest in the Basingstoke Canal among boaters. "Many of those who wished to visit the canal have worked and raised money towards its restoration", he told the meeting, and pointed out that 650 extra boats, over the period of a 4 month season, represented only 160 extra boats a month or just six a day.
Taking the Society's increase of 500 licences for visitors, Brian Percy explained that they need use little more water than 120 boats because the broad locks could take four average length canal cruisers at a time. But in terms of revenue, he said, there was a considerable difference between 500 boats generating £8,000 in licence fees and 120 bringing in £1,500.
"If the ecology of this canal is so finely balanced that it cannot accept more than one extra boat a day, then we must consider that the conservationists are seeking too high a standard and the management problems
this will create", concluded Brian Percy.
During the past two years a conservation sub-committee has instigated and co-ordinated a monitoring programme of the canal's flora and fauna together with changes in the water chemistry. In an annual review of the canal ecology, professors John Pygott and John Eaton, of Liverpool University's botany department, concluded that the present level of boating was not affecting the canal's ecosystem. Changes had taken place, it was reported, but they were more likely to have been caused by maintenance, recovery from restoration work and from changes taking place in the water chemistry.
A maximum number of 50 short term motor boat licences will be issued in any one month, and applications can be dealt with only by post.
No restriction is being imposed on the number of licences available for unpowcrcd craft.
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COST OF BOATING
LICENCE fees for all categories of boats licenced to navigate the canal have been increased this year 'in line with inflation'. Short term licence fees will, for the first time, be on a sliding scale: from 50 per cent of the annual charge for small boats to 25 per cent for larger craft. Electrically powered craft will continue to attract a 50 per cent reduction. Mooring fees, for those fortunate enough to live on the canalside or secure a riparian mooring, will be 75 per cent of the annual boat licence fee.
Charges range from £5.50 for a single seat Kayak, £9.50 for a Canadian canoe, £18.50 for a motor cruiser up to 35ft long, rising to £77.00 for a full length 72ft narrow boat.
For full details and an application form, write to Boat Licence Clerk, Hampshire County Council, Ash Lock Cottage, Government Road, Aldershot, Hants GUll 2PS (applications cannot be dealt with by phone or personally).
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1990 BASINGSTOKE BOAT RALLY
EVERYONE wants a boat rally on the canal this year but no-one seems prepared to take on the task of organising the event.
The Basingstoke Canal Boating Club has undertaken to get the ball rolling. The date has been fixed for 23rd and 24th June. The venue is to be Frimley Lodge Park offering excellent moorings and a superb canalside site for land based activities.
Club chairman, Chris de Wet, would like to hear from anyone and especially Society and IWA members who are prepared to help organise the event. Ring him on 0252 850311.
Chris would also like all boat owners to make a note of the date and bring their boats to the Basingstoke for the rally weekend. Details and entries available from Chris de Wet, 1 Floods Farm Cottages, Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Basingstoke, Hants. RG278TD.
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CANAL DIRECTOR OUTLINES FUTURE MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE
PRESENTING his plans for operating the 32-mile Basingstoke Canal as an entity, Paddy Field, the canal's first director, sought the Joint Management Committee's approval to create a new organisation with its own identity, to recruit more staff and to purchase new machinery for maintenance work.
Paddy Field said that with the imminent completion of restoration work, great emphasis would be placed on promoting the facilities created.
The first task, he said, was to unite the two existing county teams of canal rangers under an autonomous body to be known as the Basingstoke Canal Authority. The new organisation, answerable to the JMC and local authority owners of the canal, would have its own logo, colour scheme and staff uniform 'to create a striking image which will impact upon the general public and attract support and commercial sponsorship for the canal'.
The director said that he planned to have the new management structure operational by 1st April 1990.
With restoration giving way to maintenance and recreational usage, he intended to operate with two managers: the existing Hampshire manager to be responsible for operations and maintenance, and a newly appointed recreation and visitor services manager covering leisure facilities, licensing, educational needs and fund raising promotions. With a need to supervise entry to the canal once it is re-opened, and to cope with increased maintenance work arising from recreation, Paddy Field sought approval to recruit an additional two rangers immediately and a further two rangers in 1991/92. It was important for the rangers to become flexible in their approach to duties, he said, and for them to be prepared to work in whichever branch of the organisation the current task demanded.
Paddy Field emphasises the importance of the Society's support and hoped that the management would still be able to call on the skills and experience of the Society's members to help in minor restoration works 'to complete the historical integrity of the canal'.
The canal director also saw a need for volunteers to assist with maintenance work and help to develop and run visitor and information services.
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RUNNING COSTS UP-DATE
MEMBERS of the Joint Management Committee were told at their November meeting that the Society 'continues to provide a major input and raises in excess of £43,000 annually towards restoring the canal'.
In addition to employing a four-man team full time, voluntary workers put in some 24,000 hours a year, valued at approximately £96,000.
In the current 1989/90 financial year, Surrey CC has budgeted a net revenue expenditure on maintenance and restoration of £317,400, half of which is contributed by four riparian district councils. Hampshire CC is spending
£124,900 of which £18,000 is contributed by two district councils.
Income from houseboat moorings, boat licences, fishing permits and miscellaneous sales amounts to a total of £18,100.
This year, with restoration costs greatly reduced, the combined net revenue expenditure is expected to drop from £442,300 to a total of £246,700 for 1990/91. But the canal director is seeking approval for an additional £53,800 to cover increased maintenance, office start-up costs and for extra staff. An additional £23,000 is being sought for replacemenmachinery.
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RANGERS LINE UP
COUNTY canal rangers formally got together last autumn. First Surrey rangers played hosts to their counterparts in Hampshire who, in turn, organised a tour of their length with canal manager for Hampshire David Gerry and director Paddy Field. Pictured at Ash Lock: Tony Harmsworth, assistant manager in Hampshire, Les Foster (SCC) who also worked for the previous owners, the New Basingstoke Canal Company Ltd., Tony Beecher (Senior Ranger SCC), Geoff Peach (SCC), David James (HCC).George Coppin (SCC), and Andy Foster (HCC) (no relation to Les), Not pictured is Ted Hording (HCC).
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Tuesday 23rd January
Informal members evening meeting to meet old friends and new members (ask for David or Rosemary Millett) at the Barley Mow, Winchfield. A friendly pub for a pleasant evening.
Monday 29th January
Guildford and Reading Branch of the IWA meet at Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford. Talk by John Hine, Commercial Manager of British Waterways. (Venue off Woodbridge Road, behind cricket ground). 7.30pm for 8.00pm.
Monday 12th February
'Montgomery Canal Restoration and Conservation'. Talk with slides by Jonathan Briggs, British Waterways Conservation Officer. Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking 7.30 for 7.45pm.
Friday 23rd February
'Stories behind the watercolours', by Garth Alien, the Waterways artist. Southcote Library, Coronation Square, Southcote, Reading, Berks. Joint IWA & K&ACT meeting 7.30pm for 8.00pm.
Sunday 25th February.
7 mile walk around Ellisfield (west
of Lasham) with lunchtime pub stop. Meet GR 185 668 438 at 10.15am for 10.30am start. Lovely Hampshire countryside.
Tuesday 27th February
Society members, old and new, informal get-together over a drink at the Barley Mow, Winchfield. Meet about 8.00pm. Last of the winter season.
Monday 12th March
'Water and the Wall'. Film of John and June Humphries latest waterways adventure boating through Berlin. Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking 7.30pm for 7.45pm.
Sunday 25th March
7-mile walk organised by Bill Homewood, around Rotherwick meet at Hazeley GR 186 743 589 (Shoulder of Mutton pub) at 10.15am for 10.30am start. Lunchtime pub stop.
Monday 26th March
IWA Guildford and Reading branch AGM and waterways film show. Venue: Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford 7.30pm for 8.00pm.
Monday 9th April
'Power for Free?' A history of wind and water power in Surrey and
Hampshire, by Mr. J. Silman of Hampshire Mills Restoration Group. Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking 7.30pm for 7.45pm.
Weekend 23rd - 24th June
Annual rally of boats, organised by the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, at Frimley Lodge Park. Entries and details from Chris de Wet, 1 Floods Farm Cottages, Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Basingstoke, Hants. RG27 8TD Tel: 0252 850311.
Looking for typesetting, or advice on Desktop Publishing systems?
Contact us for quotations, help with system selection, installation service, training and support contracts. In fact anything to do with Desktop Publishing.
Chris de Wet, Distinguished Data Limited — Dogmersfield Telephone: 0252 850311.
This newsletter was typeset by Distinguished Data.
MAKE A note that Bill Homewood's monthly walk will be on the last Sunday of each month.
The first three walks (see diary) will be about 7 miles long and include a lunchtime pub stop.
Meet at 10.15am for a 10.30am start.
A full day out on Sunday 13th May to Portsmouth. Explore the remains of the Portsmouth Canal and follow its route to the site of the basin, now Fratton goods yard. See the fortifications, partly Tudor period, guarding Portsmouth Harbour from the battery to the point. Soak up the atmosphere and whatever else at an historic pub on the point, and take a boat trip either to Spit Sands Fort in the Solent, weather permitting, for a guided tour and refreshments, or round the harbour if the weather is too rough for going out to sea.
First pick up at Bagshot at 8.00am. First top off at Odiham about 8.00pm. Cost (approx) £10.00
per adult children (under 14) £8.50.
To make a provisional booking send a postcard or phone: Bill Homewood, 4 Larch Close, Camberley, Surrey. GUIS 4DB. Tel: 0276 61343.
The more bookings, the cheaper the cost.
Coach trip to the Kennet and Avonx Canal is planned for Sunday 9th July. Make a note of the date now. Visit will include Claverton pumping house, the Caen Hill flight of 28 locks, Devizes canal centre museum and shop.
Sponsored walk 1990
After a disappointing turnout for last year's sponsored walk, there can be no excuse this year: the date is Sunday 7th October.
Even if you only walk a short way and simply make a small donation you will be helping to make our effort to raise a considerable sum through this annual event.
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Are you fascinated by the canal's history? Do you like things kept in an orderly way? Would you find it interesting to seek out more artifacts, pictures and documents relating to the canal? If so, David Millett, the Society's Vice-chairman would like to hear from you. The Society's current archivist, Gary Cavanagh, needs some assistance. With a growing family using up more of his time and the household space, we're looking for someone with a little spare space to accommodate documents and photographs and a small collection of artifacts. One of the jobs that needs doing is to update the catalogue of items held; this was done some years ago by Peter Fethney but now requires reviewing and additions. Volunteers please ring David Millett for further details on 0252 617364.
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NEW MEMBERS & FUND RAISING
TRIP BOATS BEST YEAR EVER
LAST year's season for John Pinkerton trips proved more popular than ever, leading to another record year. Profits were up by 25 per cent on 1988, at £22,500 but reduced to £18,500 to allow for the cost of an extensive refit. Even so, the net profit represented an increase of nearly 10 per cent.
The JP at Crookham
The 1990 season starts with public trips at Easter, based at Ash Wharf. Charter bookings are now being taken for the main season, 5th May to 21st June operating from Colt Hill, Odiham, and from 26th June to 7th October from Barley Mow Bridge, Winchfield.
Full details available from: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Famborough, Hants GU14 9NT Tel: 0252 549037.
Mr. & Mrs. A.R. Ely, Hindhead; Mr. & Mrs. K. Hardie, Woking; Mr. & Mrs. J. Guerin, Fleet; Keith Neighbour, Mytchett; Jonathan & Sue Phillips, Fleet; Mr. & Mrs. H.D. Williams, Hook Heath;
Mr. W.H. Tichener, Farnham; Basingstoke Canal Boating Club; Peter, Janet & Samantha Stocken, Frimley;
Horsell Residents Association; Mr. G.L. Hannah, Farnborough; Mr. R.A. King, Weybridge; Mr. G.M. Simmonds, Guildford; Norman Pavey, Frimley Green; Pearl Butler, West Byfleet; Mr. C.R. Hamilton, St. Johns; Mr. T. Gould, East Molesey
CHARITY STAMP BANK
USED postage stamps and trading stamps, petrol vouchers, air miles points and all cigarette coupons are wanted by the Inland Waterways Association to turn into cash.
Stamps of all denominations; Green Shield; Pink; Look; Premier Gold; Co-op and Blue Chip trading stamps are all welcome.
Please send them to: WRG/IWA Stamp Bank, 114 Regents Park Road, London NW1 8UO.
This is a permanent request. Since August 1988 this source of funds has raised £1500 and, with your regular input, the IWA expects to raise £1000 every year.
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GRAND DRAW WINNERS
THE SOCIETY'S Grand Draw, which was held on 30th October, raised £1659 for the Society's Funds.
The first prize winner was Miss C. Howard of Woking. She bought the ticket from a friend who is a member of the Society, and is looking forward to enjoying a holiday on the canal in a Galleon Marine cruiser, thanks to Gordon Muchamore, who very kindly honoured the offer made by his predecessors.
The prize winners were:
Cruise donated by Galleon Marine — Miss C. Howard 35253; charter of John Pinkerton — Mrs. A. Bird 51176; £50 - Mr. and Mrs. Brazier 20178; £10 - Sallcy Bccney 51121, Mr. D. Jack 55963, Mr. and Mrs. Lattey 61325, J. Fowler 59994, H. Barnett 51752; double ticket for John Pinkerton — P. Kleeman 50542, Eric Garland 22404, S.C. Birks 51809, A.D. Phillips 34229, M. Cheesman 51367, Clark 33579, Lillicrap 56662, Davies 52965, c/o Jack 28546, Vivicnne Moxley 58570, L. Padmore 51267, P. McCammond 57011, M. Warren 52093, R. Grove 32248, S. Cooper 27831, Wendy Evans 33440, P.A. Tarplee 28833, T.G. Martin 32735, Trotter 60131, Mr. and Mrs. Lattey 61322.
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PHOTO PORTRAITS OFFER
Special price to members for individual and family portraits with donation to Society. Ring Freelance Photo Services (0252) 511258.
PAINTING FOR PROFIT
An experimental working party is being set up to help paint items in traditional canal style for the Society's sales stand. These have been very popular since they were introduced in October 1989. Anyone with experience or artistic tendencies would be very welcome, but instruction can be given, with ample opportunity for practice, and there will also be plenty of 'easy' things to do — applying primer or gloss to items.
The first working party will be held at Ash Vale in the comfort of my dining room (well, more comfortable than the bottom of a lock chamber!) on Sunday llth February 1990; refreshments provided by Bernie (don't get too excited), and if successful, they will continue on the second Sunday of each month.
If you have any painting experience, or would like to try this traditional craft, then please ring me: Sue Palmer, Sales Manager Tel: 0252 26758.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
NOTICE is given of the thirteenth Annual General Meeting of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd. which will be held on Sunday 29th April 1,990 at Mytchett Community Centre, Mytchett. Nominations are invited from members to stand for election to the Executive Committee. Closing date for nominations is Saturday 10th February.
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LAST SWING BRIDGE TO GO?
THE PEDESTRIAN swing bridge over the canal at Zephon Common, Crookham Village, which has lain on the bank for the past three years after being vandalised, may not be replaced — at least not on the existing site.
Instead a brick-built bridge may be erected on the site of the swing bridge which was last replaced in 1951 by Hampshire County Council.
Canal Manager, David Gerry, believes a permanent bridge would represent 'best buy' in terms of lower construction and maintenance costs 'over a given period'. "If money is no object we'd like a moving bridge", he said, "but if cash is restricted, a brick bridge would be the answer".
But the Society supports Crookham Village Parish Council in wishing to have a swing bridge retained on the site as the last remaining crossing of its type over the canal.
While agreeing that the existing bridge needs replacing, parish council chairman Stan Knight docs not accept that a conventional brick bridge
would be cheaper to build. "We're very keen to have a new swing bridge, made of wood and steel, which is properly balanced, of the kind which is used on the Kennet and Avon Canal", he said. The vandalised bridge moved on a race of ball bearings much prized by vandals which lead to a spate of wreckings over recent years.
In addition to retaining the swing bridge for its historic interest, the parish council is anxious to retain the rural character of the area and not to develop the public footpath as a commuting route between Crookham Village and the new housing being built in Velmead Farm.
Zephon Common swing bridge destroyed by a wartime Canadian tank. (Inset) The RSJ bridge installed by Hampshire CC in 1951.
The developer of the housing estate has agreed to contribute towards the cost of a new bridge, a sum believed to be £50,000, which is considered to be sufficient to construct a swing bridge and cover future maintenance costs. But a fixed brick bridge may be finding official favour as the easier option to avoid vandalism.
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MUSEUM AND INFORMATION CENTRE AFLOAT
ONE OF THE projects canal director Paddy Field is keen to set up is a museum and information centre.
As a medium term project he would like to see the canal's management offices, a canal information centre and shop under one roof at the Hampshire end — with another visitors centre beside the Canal in Surrey as a longer term aim. But as a more immediate project, Paddy Field is exploring, with the Society, the possibility of converting an existing barge, which is no longer used but in good condition, into spacious purpose-built museum and information centre.
Although the project would have to be funded by voluntary support Paddy Field believes that the facility would create tremendous interest and offers a valuable opportunity for sponsorship by a firm interested in supporting such a venture which will appeal to all ages.
Society members have already drawn up outline plans indicating a cost of £15,000-120,000 for converting and fitting out a 60ft by 12ft Thames barge currently lying at Crookham.
BOATING CLUB'S LOGO
THE distinctive new logo adopted by the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club was designed by Cliff Hilton who created the logo for the water festival held at Frimley Lodge Park in 1987. Cliff also designed the emblem on the sweatshirts worn by John Pinkerton crews.
The committee of the BCBC initially ran a design competition among club members which attracted some original and attractive ideas. The winning entry was submitted by Mark Butler, from which ideas were used to create the official
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BLACKWATER VALLEY RELIEF ROAD
IN YOUR Editorial Comment in BC News 148 you invite members views
on the question of the proposed Blackwater Valley Relief Road Scheme.
The fact that the embankment has been there for 200 years would only be relevant if such an embankment was rare, but this is certainly not the case. Arguments on this aspect should be firmly resisted by the Society management.
All three options listed have the common feature of an interruption of the water supply, but two are rejected on engineering grounds. The report also alludes to 'the current scheme' which requires the new road to burrow under the canal. This appears to be rejected because the road would have to dip below the existing groundwater level. The elevations show that the road is already planned to do just this a short distance away to get under the railway, but there is no explanation of why this method is acceptable for the railway but not for the canal. This needs to be pursued.
The 'current scheme' would appear to the most satisfactory for canal interests as causing least disturbance to the canal, but the consultants' favoured option will certainly appeal to those who are not particularly concerned with the maintenance of navigation. Because of the claimed cost savings it will get very serious consideration by the Councils. However, these savings only refer to capital costs. There is no attempt to evaluate the ongoing costs which will have to be guaranteed if the canal is to remain navigable. The Society management should therefore concentrate on the questions of water supplies and safe navigations, and not allow itself to be side-tracked into the very many other interesting and possibly controversial questions.
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PEOPLE COME FIRST
I am a firm believer in the need to protect all forms of wildlife but I also think man is entitled to go about his reasonable pursuits as well. A few years ago the Basingstoke Canal was more a myth than a reality, in many places it existed on the map only, on the ground much of it was no more than an overgrown depression. Nobody ever published lyrical articles about what a wonderful nature habitat it was, the comments were usually complaints about it as a festering rubbish tip or as a string of rather dangerous muddy pools, ripe for infilling and building development.
Then along came this Society and by dint of fantastic physical and money-raising efforts the canal has been re-created, in the process creating a new habitat for many forms of wildlife which had practically disappeared from the locality. After all this was nearly complete along came the Nature Conservancy Council, an organisation which is elected by nobody, which represents nobody and which has contributed nothing whatsoever to the creation of the canal and now tries its utmost to practically prevent the public from using it for fear of disturbing some weeds, insects and so on which have mostly only arrived since the canal was restored. In itself this busybody attitude is not surprising or uncommon nowadays; what is ridiculous and deplorable is the serious attention paid to it by otherwise sensible people and organisations.
If the NCC is prepared to spend its own money and effort on creating new flashes which are out of bounds to boats and people, or new by-pass channels to the same ends, or new tunnels for bats, then the councils and the Society should welcome their efforts, grant them every reasonable facility, and possibly even consider making some physical or financial contribution.
49 Queen Mary's Drive, New Haw,
Weybridge, Surrey KT15 3TW
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LEARNING FROM THE PAST
HOW WILL the Blackwater Valley Relief Road cross Ash Embankment? (BC News November). I note that Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick favours the construction of two 3-chamber staircases — words fail me! L.T.C. Rolt, in his book Navigable Waterways discussed the problems of crossing the valley of the River Dee or Vale of Llangollen... 'which presented the most formidable barrier of all to the constructors of the Ellesmere Canal', he wrote. Tom Rolt went on to say that William Jessop's original plan, for two long tunnels and an aqueduct was rejected, and I quote again: 'William Turner of Whitchurch produced his plan for a 3-arch aqueduct at Pont Cysyllte ... this aqueduct plan entailed carrying the canal down into and out of the valley by flights of locks, a wasteful
and costly arrangement. At this juncture Thomas Telford persuaded the canal committee to postpone a decision on Turner's aqueduct and to grant him the sum of £100 towards the cost of preparing a plan of his own'.
Any person with the slightest interest in, or knowledge of, British canals is well aware of his plan, and that the result is still there and in use nearly 200 years later.
Incidentally, I note that the firm of consultants called in to advise on the Ash Embankment crossing also submitted the recent report on the embankment over the Hart at Crookham Deeps!
It seems that the idea of an elevated roadway isn't favoured for obvious reasons, but that same environmental concern over 'the intrusion on the countryside' did not prevent the M25 viaduct to be built at New Haw!
Option 1. I think engineers are really incapable of building a walled causeway at flood plain level; and a simple Telford-type aqueduct will not give the required headroom; then a lock at each end of the 9ft rise and fall, with a pumped water supply, would be far less costly than these staircases of locks, and leaking water would feed back to the canal and not to the River Blackwater.
Option 2. If it is feasible to raise the height of the embankment to the top pound level as far as the aqueduct, then only one lock down on the far side would be required: in other words Ash Lock is repositioned on the embankment and Gasworks Bridge raised to give a suitable clearance. All charged to the road building bill of course!
'Hazel Croft' Crookham Village, Aldershot, Hants. GU140SD.
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LOCK KEEPER'S DAY TO REMEMBER - Ted Hammond
FOR A GOOD many years, in fact ever since the Guildford National Rally of 1970, I have helped operate locks on the Wey Navigation at busy times. Normally this is a leisurely routine of sorting out the arrivals, operating the paddles one side, and watching for odd behaviour and straining ropes. However one Saturday in August the routine was severely disrupted.
About lunch time I was mildly surprised to see the large passenger boat, which normally runs short trips up to St. Catherine's approaching to descend through the lock. I let it in and expressed my surprise. It appeared that there was a wedding at the Methodist Church about a mile downstream, and the wedding party had hired the boat to convey the guests, mostly boat people, to the reception. Sure enough, about a quarter past four the party arrived, with the passenger barge full of guests
and two extra narrow boats in attendance. We then had the exceedingly unusual sight of a lovely girl in a stunning wedding dress applying a windlass to the lock gear and winding up the paddle. There was also a number of smartly dressed gentlemen in dark suits adorned with carnation button holes, hauling on ropes and shoving balance beams. I was given a very large glass of champagne, and I reckon my elderly features will appear in any photographic record of the event.
But that wasn't all, following the wedding party was a decorated narrow boat with 21st birthday party aboard. I admired the cake which was beautiful, with a lovely spray of sugar flowers. I was given a huge chunk, which was simply scrumptious; a rich fruit cake with obviously tons of brandy in the recipe.
As a finishing touch to the day, I picked up a 20p coin from the lockside as I left to catch my train. Truly a day to remember.
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MOORING BASIN NEEDED
FOLLOWING a fruitless search for an acceptable site for a mooring basin along the Hampshire length of the canal, the Society has asked the Joint Management Committee to tackle the problem with renewed vigour.
The Nature Conservancy Council
opposed a proposed site for a basin
to moor 100 boats, using military
owned heathland to the east of
Pondtail Bridge, Fleet.
Since the Society supports the canal owners' policy restricting banksidc moorings to one boat per landowner, the facilities for permanent mooring are extremely limited.
With the canal due to re-open this year the Society felt that the JMC should give the question 'high priority', at its.November meeting.
UNIQUE CANALSIDE LODGE FOR SALE
THREE BEDROOMS * REFITTED PINE KITCHEN * SPACIOUS LIVING ROOM, SEPARATE DINING ROOM * ENTRANCE HALLS # GAS FIRED CENTRAL HEATING # CAREFULLY MODERNISED THROUGHOUT * DETACHED GARAGE * PARKING FOR 3 CARS * GARDENS ADJOINING CANAL
Attractive grade II listed property, dating back 200 years, situated in idyllic setting beside the Basingstoke Canal below Kings Head Bridge, Frimley Green.
FREEHOLD. Offers in excess of £160,000.
Unspoilt, secluded setting, yet within short walk of Frimley Green shops and 10 minutes drive Camberley town centre. Brookwood Station 10 minutes (ample parking). Main line to Waterloo in 30 minutes. M3 motorway access (J3) at Frimley 5 mins. drive.
Viewing by appointment: Mr. and Ms. Roberts (0252) 837165.
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FINE of £1200 plus £933 imposed on a timber treatment firm at Haves, for intentionally disturbing a roosting bat.
NCC's budget for 1989/90 is £40,150,000. Council expects to notify 250 new SSSI's during the year but only 'if under threat'.
SURPRISINGLY 11% of BCBC members do not own a boat and 47% of those who do use the canal less than once a month, a survey among members revealed. Just over half the members also belong to the society.
BOAT station proposed at Winchfield has been rejected because of the site's proximity to the existing facilities at Colt Hill.
MAP dowsing technique used successfully to locate source of up to a third of a million gallons of water per day to supplement canal's existing daily water supplies of 3-4 million gallons emanating from springs in canal bed at Greywell. Active search being made for additional sources.
SOCIETY contacting HCC's Surveyor to seek visual improvement of old Pondtail bridge.
LAUNCH of Society's case for restoring the western end of the canal and re-open the 1230 yard long Greywell Tunnel, in a booklet entitled The Promise of the Western End, due early this year.
CONGRATULATIONS sent to Society vice-president Mr. Cranley Onslow on celebrating 25 years as Member of Parliament for Woking constituency including Ash. Mr. Onslow is Chairman of the Tory Backbenchers' 1922 Committee.
MISSING 'not' in report headed 'Wildlife habitat reviewed' (BC News 148 November 1989). Reported view of Professors Pygott and Eaton
should have read: 'At the present time we do not think that boat traffic is a major influence on the state of the canal ecosystem'.
JMC urged by Society to start planning Grand Opening of Canal. Agreed to be in Spring 1991. 'Key issues require early decision' the Society's Secretary pointed out. Committee to be set up under canal director to start the ball rolling.
SOCIETY has formally 'strongly deplored' 7-year delay in establishing canal bye-laws as 'quite unacceptable'. Hampshire's countryside officer Mr. Colin Bonsey undertook to report to April meeting of JMC Home Office's comments on draft laws approved by DOE.
DONATIONS gratefully received from our members Mrs. D.C. Milsum who donated £30 of her recent '200 Club' prize and from Lt. Col. Harding contributing £25.
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SHEERWATER BOAT MOORINGS
THE PRESENCE of a Hymac excavator, clearing the canal bed between Monument and Sheerwater bridges during late summer last year, tempted a dozen or so riparian householders to order inlets, slipways and mooring laybys before the canal is refilled.
While the principle of constructing off-line moorings was agreed in the early days of restoration, precise structural and maintenance standards were not laid down.
A county council officer reported to the JMC that Surrey is in discussion with the local borough council over the question of approval.
NEW LOOK WHARF
THE unnamed wharf, mentioned in our last issue, which has been given a facelift, is Reading Road Wharf, Fleet.
The bank has been realigned close to the bridge; the bank is now steel piled and brick capped and the wharf area has been neatly landscaped with paths, grass and a formal car park area.
The work was carried out by Hampshire Canal Rangers Tony Harmsworth and Andy Foster, with brickwork by the Society's Jim Reid.
A welcome improvement to a much used recreational site which had become scruffy in recent years.
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COPY DATE FOR MARCH 1990 BC NEWS: 30th JANUARY 1990
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society.
Editor Dieter Jebens. Production: Jo Evans & Chris de Wet.
Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middlebourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252 715230)
Mail Order Sales:
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9HX. (09905 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU13 9SW. (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Nigel Parsons, 14 The Piccards, Chestnul Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5DW. (0483 571709)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy, Surrey, GU3 2AS. (0483 234776)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR. (0372 272631)
Working Party Organiser: Frank Jones, Beulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley, Surrey, GU12 2PA. (0276 28367)
Dredger Manager: Roger Flitter, 10 George Road, Reel, Hampshire, GU13 9PS. (0252 622956)
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 SAY. (0252 313076)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Ix>ddon Road, Famhorough, Hampshire, GUI4 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Managers: Sue Palmer & Bernie Timms, 20 Charthouse Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 5LS. (0252 26758)
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Talks Orghaniser: Mrs Janet Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5, Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (09323 40281)
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