No. 152 JULY 1990
ALL credit goes to our member Stan Meller and his team of professional advisors who evaluated the two proposals for the Blackwater Valley road crossing of the canal on Ash Embankment, and pointed to a number of deficiencies in the road 'over' scheme which failed to give a true account of the estimated costs.
As a result, the firm of consultant engineers has conceded that the cost of road 'over' option has been under estimated.
Although Surrey County Council has now been recommended to accept the alternative road 'under' plan, the Government may, in spite of the strong regional opposition, seek to adopt the 'over' option on the grounds that it is still claimed to be slightly less costly. The day is not yet won.
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ONE interesting revelation arising from Surrey's survey of local opinion on the Blackwater Valley Road plan, was the significant proportion of the respondents who are opposed to it.
As many as 21% of respondents are against it and a further 21% did not express a view. The weight of opposition or ambivalence to the road most probably reflects the additional comments made expressing concern over the increased noise pollution and the impact on the environment the new road will create.
Politicians — the people who map out the environment in which we live — should take note.
Clearly the Blackwater Valley road is not being welcomed wholeheartedly. People living in the region are becoming seriously concerned by the rapid urbanisation of the local environment. Acres of open spaces, farmland and woodland are being eliminated for all time by commercial developments, housing estates and new roads. No sooner had the worked out gravel pits below Ash Embankment been transformed to a series of attractive lakes, than plans are revealed to desecrate the new landscape with the Blackwater road.
The serious consequences of increasing road traffic on wildlife and the environment are highlighted by the Nature Conservancy Council in the current issue of its newsletter Topical Issues. An estimated 47,500 badgers — nearly half the number of cubs born a year — and up to 5,000 barn owls, are killed on the roads each year.
Road transport is also a major source of pollution, particularly of carbon dioxide (which accounts for 18% of all emissions); carbon monoxide (85%); hydrocarbons (28%) and nitrous oxides (45%). Catalytic converters will help reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides, but with road traffic set to have increased by between 83% and 142% in 35 years time, the actual volume of emissions will rise steeply.
The lack of overwhelming support for the road may also be prompted by a growing realisation that it will have little effect on easing the particular traffic problem it is designed to solve. And the certain knowledge that each new road simply moves traffic congestion elsewhere without solving the problem as a whole.
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BOATING CLUB'S SUCCESS
SADLY the Society was unable to organise a boat rally on the canal this year. So the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, formed less than a year and a half ago, took the initiative and organised 'Boats Afloat', held at Frimley Lodge Park last month. A report of what turned out to be an entertaining and profitable event will appear in the September issue. In the meantime congratulations to organiser Richard Elder, his committee and the weekend helpers whose hard work proved tremendously worthwhile.
Successful boat rallies are judged not only in financial terms and on the number of entrants and visitors, but also on the chosen site. Frimley Lodge Park is an outstandingly attractive site, visually and in all practical respects. The former rundown farmland has been skillfully landscaped into a 61-acre parkland offering a variety of sports and recreational facilities, while retaining much of the natural environment, to achieve a public open space of character, beauty and purpose. Surrey Heath BC should win an award for the creation.
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Jan Smith's replica canal directors' inspection launch Victoria M, seen from King's Head Bridge, heading for Frimley Lodge Park where 'Boats Afloat'guests, including canal director Paddy Field and Cllr. Alan Barnett, Mayor of Surrey Heath Borough Council, embarked to review the 45 rally boat entrants. (Pictures: Dieter Jebens. Processing: Alison Snell and Freelance Photo Services, Famborough).
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NCC TO PROPOSE RESTRICTED BOATING ZONES
PROPOSALS to restrict boat cruising along the canal's western end are expected to be revealed in September when the Nature Conservancy Council presents its Conservation Strategy for the canal. It is believed that the NCC will recommend zoning the canal and call for severe restrictions on motorised navigation of the Hampshire length and possibly a total ban on cruising west of Colt Hill, Odiham.
It is claimed that a decline in the
condition of the canal as a wildlife habitat has already taken place and while there are a number of contributing factors — such as pollution, overhanging trees, weed cutting and dredging — motor boating is seen as an added aggravation and one that can be controlled simply by limiting numbers.
It is believed that the NCC will also be seeking to control weed cutting, dredging and other maintenance functions which may adversely affect the condition of the canal for navigation.
Local naturalist trusts and other specialist wildlife conservationists are understood to be helping to compile the strategy document which will be seen as the NCCs 'white paper' on a formal management plan to be agreed with the two county council owners of the canal.
The document will be published as a prelude to designation of a 25-mile length of the canal from Greywell to Brookwood, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Formal notification is now expected in October, three years after the original target date.
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TOKYO VISITORS CHOSE CANAL TRIP IN TOUR OF BRITAIN
CRUISES on the Basingstoke Canal are no longer just a local attraction, it seems, but appeal to international visitors too.
Trip boat company chairman Roger Cansdale presenting Mr. Akira Ei with a copy of Basingstoke Canal Restoration.
When a party of Japanese child health and welfare workers made plans for a tour of Britain, they not
only included such well known tourist haunts as London, Edinburgh and Stratford on Avon on their itinerary, but also the Basingstoke Canal.
Their interest was aroused by a feature on restoration of the canal and the Societys trip boat John Pinkerton, which appeared in Tokyo's biggest circulation newspaper, The Daily Yomiuri. So the group of twenty visitors booked a trip aboard
the traditional style canal narrowboat as a highlight of their tour in April.
And they were well rewarded with a warm and sunny spring day when they embarked at Reading Road Wharf, Fleet for the 8-1/2 mile cruise up the canal to Colt Hill, Odiham. They stopped for a bankside lunch of chicken in watercress sauce and strawberry flan at Chequers Wharf, surrounded by bluebells and primroses in flower to show the English countryside at its best. The trip even satisfied the tourists' insatiable thirst for scenes of historical events with views of Dogmersfield House where King Henry VII's eldest son, Arthur, first met Catherine of Aragon.
The party were so delighted with their day out on the canal and so impressed with the restoration project that they made the Society a donation of £100 before leaving by coach to Portsmouth for a visit to Paris.
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PARTNERS IN PRESERVATION?
THE SOCIETY and navigation lobbyists could find themselves campaigning alongside the Nature Conservancy Council in a bid to halt development along the canal.
Housing developments on farmland at Crookham have long been opposed by the Society as being detrimental to the canal's environment. Following the approval to develop Velmead Farm as a housing estate, the NCC has become concerned over the resultant pressures on Zephon Copse, bordering the canal, which is currently an undisturbed wildlife habitat.
Further development of the area may find the Society and the NCC fighting from the same corner to protect the copse and canal side environment.
NEW LOOK AT FLASHES
STEPS have been taken to make better use of canalside flashes as nature reserves. The BCA and the NCC have recently taken a closer look at Rushmoor Flash and other water spaces in the vicinity of the Royal Aerospace Establishment. As a result the NCC may fund the excavation of silted up flashes to provide boat-free areas for wildlife.
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PUT A RUSH ON IT
Many of our older working party members probably remember the camaraderie of older working parties. The laughter helped to ease the physically hard and dirty jobs we were doing. However, we did them for one reason only, to get the canal re-opened for navigation. What has happened or resulted from these many hours of toil?
Heavy silting in many areas of the Hampshire section, problems with the NCC (where were they when we were up to our knees in muck and bullets, phosphor bombs, and grenades etc?), restrictions on boat movements, delays on the 'opening' due to the dangerous state of the Deepcut flight, plus all the political infighting.
It makes me wonder whether it was worth it. Did I and so many others like me waste our time and efforts. Will a new Basingstoke Canal Restoration Society be formed to restore this derelict waterway purely for the naturalists? Are there any
more stupid members of the public left who are interested in this so called 'navigation' where you can't use a boat (which alleviates the lack of moorings problem).
It is now time to fight all this rubbish and decay. The older members may have lost heart and enthusiasm. I only hope I am wrong. Come on! Let's do what we said as we pushed the skips of silt at Odiham, dug out the locks at Deepcut on the Big Dig and over the years it took us to restore (?) them, and all the other jobs.
What was it we said? Oh yes, I had almost forgotten, it was so long ago. Now I remember. "Lets get this ..... canal open".
In my best Brumagem latin, DIGITUS EXTRACTUS TEMPUS
Westheath Road, Farnborough, Hants.
SWING BRIDGE RECALLED
The decision — in spite of vandalism and utilitarianism — to rebuild the swing bridge at Zephon Common will please all those whose interest in your admirable work is based on sentiment and aesthetics — values at present out of fashion but none the worse for that. I remember as a child that a walk to what we called the first swing bridge represented a pleasant routine, taking us along Watery Lane to the Crondall Road, whereas to get as far as the second swing bridge — even then long since dismantled — was an exciting expedition ending in Dogmersfield Park where we were allowed to picnic. I do hope that the present craze for powered boats will not prevent your restoring the canal as it used to be; the only sounds to be heard then being the splash of oars, the squawking of a moorhen, pigeons complaining, the call of a cuckoo and, as darkness fell, the singing of nightingales in the surrounding woods. Eheu fugaces.
PROF. JOHN DAVIS MD FRCP
Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB2 5JE
BRIDGE & FISH PRESERVATION
How often is it that after looking at a photograph of a place or scene does it turn out to be disappointing to see it in reality?
Such a place is Little Tunnel Bridge. I would not object to use of the bridge hole for the storage of straw bales; the graffiti can be removed but the damage caused by farm machinery is too much.
The wall beneath the towpath has had a large hole gouged out and by the width of the rutted track marks the culprit must be one of those monster tractors.
I have always been sceptical as to the size of fish reported to live in the canal until late Saturday afternoon in May when I looked into the water between Locks 26 and 27 on the Deepcut Flight. There I spotted a magnificent specimen of a carp. If the water dries up as it did last summer this fine fish will be prey to predators. Ideally it should be transferred to a pound where the water is deeper.
Lilford Road, London SE5.
Editors Note: Little Tunnel Bridge is a listed monument. The Society might do well to take up the state of this historic feature with HCC.
LOSING OUR INFLUENCE?
I am aghast at the apparent apolitical attitude of our society's Committee.
At the AGM we learnt that the government-funded NCC now has a seat on the Joint Management Committee. Hasn't the NCC suggested making the Basingstoke Canal an SSSI — effectively limiting public access and navigation? Property developers have money and an interest — will that too merit representation?
There is a real possibility that our Society's voice could become a minor influence in the future of the Basingstoke Canal. Yet it is only our efforts that have made the canal such an environmentally attractive prize. There certainly was nothing exciting about the sludge filled ditch that I remember from the sixties.
The 'environmental' interests ranged against us have made our headway through effective political action. Meanwhile, our Committee seems too worried about upsetting these groups and accommodates rather than negotiates. Of course we should examine other viewpoints but if we believe in what we have worked so hard to achieve we should round on our critics with authority.
I believe that the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society is the strongest 'public interest' group, well run, successful and of real benefit to the local community. We offer the best overall experience and ideas for the future of the Basingstoke Canal. Will the Committee declare our views, before it's too late, in the places that count and with the clout that gets results?
KYLE P. BULLUS
Martindale Avenue, Camberley, Surrey
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ROAD 'UNDER' OPTION VOTED
SURREY Counly Council has been recommended to adopt the Blackwater Valley road 'under' scheme for crossing the canal on Ash Embankment, and to keep Government Road open by diverting it over the new road.
The recommendations are made by Surrey's transportation planning unit, which have been agreed jointly by Hampshire and Surrey councillors.
The report concludes that the cost of the road 'over' scheme, has been underestimated by £1.2 million reducing the difference between the two options from £4.4m to £2.4m.
The report lists five specific items relating to the road 'over' scheme which the Society identified as having been left out of the engineering proposals submitted by consultants Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, who have conceded the need for:
* higher powered pumps to empty the proposed new locks faster
* separate locks as opposed to staircase configurations
* vehicle access to proposed locks
* a lock keepers cottage
* financial provision to pay the cost
of future maintenance incurred.
In addition to increasing the cost of the road over scheme to £37.2m, the consultant engineers also agreed that the scale of the proposed aqueduct could be reduced saving £0.8m on the cost of the road 'under' option bringing it down to £39.6m.
But the Society still maintains that there would be little difference between the cost of the options for crossing the canal. Commenting on the report, Stan Meller said, "While the consultants have acknowledged the need for most of the extra costs of the road 'over' scheme, they have ignored a number of items amounting to an additional £2m". These include:
* approx £lm additional cost for constructing the two new flights of locks, based on British Waterways estimates.
* additional lock keeper and cottage
* standby generator
* more costly let-off weirs.
The Society also believes that the cost of a bridge over the River Blackwater has been over estimated by £300,000.
The report also reveals the results of a public survey, which the Society actively promoted, believing that public opinion was heavily opposed to the road scheme involving the construction of new locks and the virtual destruction of Ash Embankment.
1265 questionnaires were completed revealing that only 10% of respondents supported the road 'over' scheme, while 84% favoured the alternative road 'under' plan.
Surprisingly, in view of the fact that the proposed road is a foregone conclusion, 21% of respondents were opposed to it and a further 21% did not express an opinion.
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ROW OVER 'NAVIGATION'
CHAIRMAN of the Inland Waterways Associations local branch, Brian Percy, has warned that voluntary restoration of the canal will have been 'obtained under false pretences' if the word 'navigation' is not included in the Management's aims.
•At the spring meeting of the Joint Management Committee, David Millett, the Society's vice-chairman, called for the word 'navigation' to be added to the draft constitution which referred to the canal as 'a recreation and environmental asset'. The JMC agreed that the word 'navigation' should be included in the constitution.
But in a subsequent letter to Brian Percy, the JMC's secretary defended the draft wording claiming that 'recreation includes any use of the canal for boating purposes'. 'I am clear in my own mind that the JMC and County Councils expect and intend that the canal will be used by boats but I would want to avoid using any language which re-opened any argument about whether or not there is a statutory right of navigation', wrote Mr. Jessop, the JMC's secretary.
In response Brian Percy, representing boating interests on the JMC, has pointed out that the aim to restore the canal for navigation and other uses was among the objectives of the JMC when it was formed.
Mr. Percy has also pointed out that legal opinion supports the IWA's contention that a statutory right of navigation exists under the terms of the 1778 Act of Parliament that authorised construction of the canal.
'Irrespective of whether or not the word navigation is included in the aims of the JMC this will not change any legal opinion of a right of navigation on the canal' Mr. Percy replied.
A PICTURE of King's Head Bridge, commissioned by Surrey Heath Museum from landscape painter Terry Hamson was un veiled at a party aboard the John Pinkerton in May. (left to right) Terry Hamson, Cllr. John Long, Mayoress Mrs. Joyce Barnett, curator Sharon Cross, the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr. Alan Bamett, and chief executive Neville Pughe.
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CANAL DIRECTOR CALLS FOR SOCIETY'S CONTINUED SUPPORT
ADDRESSING members of the Society at the annual general meeting, held at Mytchett Community Centre on 29th April, Mr. Paddy Field, director of the newly formed Basingstoke Canal Authority, expressed the desire for voluntary support to help maintain the 32-mile waterway after restoration is finally completed later this year.
A target date of 1st September had been set for completion of restoration works, members were told, but Mr. Field added that water levels would be raised gradually and so the canal may not be fully navigable immediately afterwards.
A formal opening was planned for the spring of next year, at Frimley Lodge Park, and Mr. Field hoped that a member of The Royal Family would consent to perform the ceremony. He thanked Surrey Heath Borough Council for its assistance over booking a firm date yet to be finalised.
Society members heard that good progress had been made over the past year towards completing restoration which was now concentrated on dredging the final length of the canal through Fleet, and extensive works to the canal bed and completion of the six locks in the Sheerwater and Woodham areas, east of Woking.
On completion, the canal director said that he foresaw a requirement for voluntary support in the future. "I assure you that there will be a tremendous need for the Canal Society's continued help and assistance", Mr. Field told members. "Your role may well change from laying bricks to other things but we shall want the Society to continue", he stressed.
Hampshire County Council had recently purchased the extreme western end of the canal from Greywell to Up Nately, Mr. Field announced, and work would go ahead to restore the towpath and clear the derelict canal bed to make the 34-mile length, from the western end of Greywell Tunnel, 'as scenically attractive as possible'. "We shall be turning to you for support", Mr.
Field told the meeting.
There was a need for a canal centre, and the possibility of converting a barge to serve that purpose was being discussed with the Society, said Mr. Field.
There was also the possibility to obtain one of the buildings of the former Canadian International School at Mytchett for offices, a conference room and interpretation centre, the director added, and he hoped that members would volunteer to help the authority with its work of promoting the facilities for recreation offered by the canal.
"There will forever be a need for the excellent working parties the Society organises to keep the canal banks cleared", Mr. Field said, and to do other tasks such as topographical surveys of the canal and its environment for conservation purposes.
The canal director also expressed the hope that the Society would continue to raise funds to channel into facilities on the canal which the Authority would not be able to afford out of its general maintenance budget.
He hoped, too, that the Canal Society would continue to promote the best interests of the canal, saying that local government had to be somewhat reserved, but that the Society was under no restraints.
Reviewing the issue over how the Blackwater Valley Relief Road would cross the canal, either over or under Ash Embankment, Mr. Field said that the consensus of opinion was in favour of the Society's wish to see the road go under the canal which would be carried by an aqueduct and so cause a minimum of disruption. It was also the better option to lessen the environmental damage, avoid possible navigational difficulties and maintenance problems which were inherent in the road 'over' scheme.
Mr. Field concluded: "I look forward to continuing the fruitful participation between the canal's management and the Society'.
The Society's trip boat John Pinkerton was reported to have had a record season, making a profit of £18,500 for restoration works.
The Canal Society's Chairman, Robin Higgs, spoke of the restored
canal as "as testament to the dedicated involvement of hundreds of volunteers" who had worked on its restoration over the past 16 years.
Referring to the canal's future and especially to the unacceptable riparian developments and moves to limit navigation, Mr. Higgs warned: "To those who attempt to deny us the fruits of our labours, I would counsel caution, for the Canal Society intends to remain a strong and responsible voice in defence of the canal, which in our view, undoubtedly is a statutory navigation".
Mr. Higgs assured members that the Society intended to be 'an integral part of the canal resources'. The Society was now ready to embark on restoration of Greywell Tunnel and the derelict western end of the canal he said, and it would be investigating additional water supplies, a site for a mooring basin and helping to maintain the restored canal.
"The Society is too important a resource in the waterway for it not to continue to play a leading role", Mr. Higgs concluded.
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EXECUTIVE committee member Vic Trott of Westfield, Woking, who did not seek re-election at the AGM, was thanked by the Chairman for his contributions over a number of years.
Vic Trott has, for a long time, taken a particular interest in riparian planning proposals and, with Peter Coxhead, has been responsible for commenting on plans in the Woking area of the canal. He was also organiser of the Society's first successful boat rallies held at Ash Lock Cottage.
Vic Trott will continue to sit on the Woking events committee.
L.E. 'Pablo' Haworth was elected to the executive committee along with other members who stood for re-election: Robin Higgs (chairman), David Millett (vice-chairman), Philip Riley (secretary), Nigel Parsons (Treasurer), Alan Grimster, Pablo Haworth (planning review -Surrey), David Junkison (special projects group), Peter Redway (working party liaison), Derek Truman (fund raising), Jonathan Wade (planning review - Surrey).
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MEMBERS' VIEWS AND QUESTIONS
AGM QUESTION TIME
PROMPTED, perhaps, by the publication of the Society's case for restoring the western end of the canal, a member enquired about the current position with regard to the possible restoration of Greywell Tunnel. As far as Hampshire County Council was concerned , 'it is not leaning one way or the other', replied the canal director who predicted that any decision would be the subject of a long debate. The chairman added that it was clear from local public meetings that there was strong support for restoring the western end of the canal which was considered to be an eyesore.
What would a visitors' manager do? asked Janet Greenfield, with just a hint of incredulity, referring to the canal director's wish to appoint such a person. Mr. Field explained that until now David Gerry had been responsible for both maintenance and recreational management in Hampshire. As Surrey had no manager, David Gerry would become responsible for the Surrey end too. The amount of work involved was too much for one person and rather than split the work geographically, Mr. Field said that he wished to divide it by job function with David Gerry taking responsibility for maintenance.
Two questioners felt that the committee had, perhaps, lost a degree of contact with Society members. Kyle Bull us asked whether the Society's 'elders' were supporting members views sufficiently. And in the absence of any information on what the committee intended to do with its £60,000 bank balance, Chris de Wet, chairman of the canal's Boating Club, asked how would the money be spent?
Chairman Robin Higgs replied vaguely about 'supporting the infrastructure of the canal', and ihcn admitted that the committee had no proposals. But funds would not be allocated to support maintenance work, he asserted.
The Society's press officer, Dieter Jebens, reasoned that if maintenance was under funded, as the director had argued, county councillors would not feel the need to increase the budget if the Canal Society 'made up the difference'.
"The Society should be campaigning for increased public funding to maintain and develop the canal amenity", he concluded.
In response to the question of how and when the canal will be dredged again at its western end, which is known to be heavily silted up in places, the chairman was unable to offer any prospect of clearance. David Gerry added that the absence of suitable dump sites for silt was one of the problems to be resolved.
An observant Peter Jones asked about the 'No cycling' notices along the canal in Surrey when many more people seemed to be taking to biking along the towpath. Paddy Field revealed that he had cycled 18 miles of the towpath that day, so cycling was permitted! "Horses, no; motor cycling, no; jogging is tolerated and walking is positively encouraged", he said.
The menacing presence of army patrols had eased and been confined to army installations, a questioner was told. Guards should not challenge boaters and military exercises were not permitted along the towpath, members were assured.
What was the future of the full time team? The chairman explained that the jobs would be redundant after restoration was completed. The team knew this and the Society would assist with any necessary retraining. Frank Jones, it was reported, planned to continue working
on the canal as a contractor on a self employed basis.
Should locks be left full or empty? For safety reasons Surrey locks were left empty with the result that the pine planking on the bottom gates tended to open up and leaked when locks are filled, Frank Jones explained. While he understood the engineering reasons for the 'empty' policy, the Society considered that locks should be left full, to prevent timbers drying out, and he hoped the new management would come to a similar conclusion.
One of the most important questions came from John Walker, in the absence of any report from the Committee — what was the situation with regard to the Nature Conservancy Council and its intention to designate 25 miles of the canal a Site of Special Scientific Interest?, he asked. The Chairman could offer little information other than the possibility that the NCC may have been advised to take a less strident attitude. He added that the NCC may also have changed their view of the canal's wildlife interest.
Mr. Jebens pointed out that there had been one significant development to report, in that the NCC was now formally represented on the Joint Management Committee. He felt that members should be given such information, and generally be provided with news of developments which was, at times, arbitrarily restricted.
In closing, David Gerry commended Bill Homewood's walks programme to members at large. A final word came from Alan Barnett, the Surrey Heath Borough Council's local councillor and JMC member who welcomed the meeting to his ward and said: "We have been listening to what has been said and taking note".
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Progress continues to be made on all fronts, writes Peter Cooper, but on the crucial works remaining around and below Woking, the recent weather is having a noticeable effect. The workers reached a point where the next logical step was to admit water to a further section, but then they found water was not available. So jobs are being delayed, or are being performed in unnatural sequences, and it all becomes rather frustrating. A week of continuous rain in Surrey and Hampshire would probably do the canal restoration task a power of good. The full time team have installed
the gates, and most of the ancillary gear, at Lock 5, and continue to work on various remaining tasks at this lock and Locks 4 and 3. Volunteers have been raising the towpath between Woking and Lock 6, and have nearly finished attending to the balance beams on the Deepcut flight.
A regular programme of volunteer working parties is still planned, but you would be well advised to check before attending, to make sure that there is a working party, and to find out where it is.
Working party leaders are:-
First weekend of the month —
Peter Jones on Aldershot 313076
Second weekend of the month —
David Junkison on 0819410683, or Dave Lunn
Third weekend of the month —
Peter Redway on Woking 721710
The overall co-ordinator of this work is Frank Jones on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
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FLIGHT CLOSED UNTIL DECEMBER
BOATERS expecting unrestricted navigation through the 14 locks at Dccpcut for the first time since restoration of the flight was completed seven years ago will be disappointed. The Basingstoke Canal Authority now responsible for maintenance of the whole canal, has identified a considerable amount of essential work to be done before it can be opened.
While the Society agrees that the ravages of time and a lack of routine maintenance has lead to a backlog of work, there is some dispute over claims by the BCA that construction faults have contributed. A key point of disagreement concerns the question of policy over whether locks should be left full or empty. Frank Jones, the Society's full time manager, says that locks were intended to be left full of water to protect lock gate timbers. The BCA is establishing a policy to keep locks empty, when not in use, for safety.
This month the BCA will embark on a £10,000 programme of renovation works which are expected to take until the end of the year to complete. They include replacement of some gate frame timbers and the need for at least one new gate. A number of lockside cavities need filling by pressure grouting. The BCA also believes that by-pass weir inlets are not wide enough but ihis is seen as a longer term consideration.
The new maintenance dredger Unity is being brought down to act as a work platform. Volunteers who are well on the way to completing the task of fitting new balance beams throughout the flight may be asked to assist.
Fitting balance beams on Deepcut flight.
Dredging in Hampshire every weekend
After the epic passage through Reading Road Bridge, this party have settled back into making steady progress eastwards from there. Serviceability of equipment has been very good lately. There have been some recent new recruits to the team, but there is still room for more. Further details, contact Roger Flitter on Fleet 622956.
Hampshire Bankside work
This party are still in their summer recess. They will restart work in October, and details will be given in the September issue of BC News.
Weekday Volunteering If you can come along and help on the canal during the week, if only for a few days, you should contact Frank Jones (numbers above) who will be happy to find a job for you.
SOCIETY'S INCOME INCREASED|
THE Society's income rose by 8% to £54,688 against a net expenditure of £40,785, allowing for local government grants of. £11,475, leaving a year end balance of £13,903.
A profit of £18,489 (up 10%) from
operating the John Pinkerton contributed a third of the income. Donations totalling £15,724 accounted for 28% of income. The Society
made a first time profit of £3,373 from its contracting company, Deepcut Canal Cataracts Ltd., but revenue from fund raising activities
fell to £4,377 compared with £10,755 raised in 1988.
With cash and investments amounting to £47,990, the Society ended the year with a total balance of £66,624, an increase of 19% on the previous year.
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Thursday 26th July
Mikron Theatre Company comes to the West End Centre, Queens Road, Aldershot, with a new production 'Free for All', billed as 'an environmentally friendly musical'. 7.30pm. Seats: £4.95. Advance bookings tel: 0252 330040.
Sunday 29th July
7 mile walk from Bramsbill Forest. Meet at GR186 755612 at 10.15am. River Blackwater to Swallowfield. Pub lunch stop. Leader Bill Homewood.
Sunday 26th August
Meet at Warren Pond car park, Puttenham Common (GR186 929461) at
10.15am for a 6 mile stroll over local
heathland. Pub stop. Leader Bill Homewood.
Weekend 25th-27th August
IWA National Waterways Festival and rally of boats at Gloucester. The season's biggest canal event.
Weekend 8th-9th September
Basingstoke Canal Boating Club's 5th annual Fox and Hounds Rally,
Fleet. Adjourns to Water Witch, Odiham, on Sunday. Details from Chris de Wet on 0252 850387.
Sunday 23rd September
Coach trip to the Kennet and Avon Canal to celebrate its official reopening (see details below).
Sunday 30th September
7 mile walk with Bill Homewood covering the Wey Navigation. Meet Scotland Bridge, West Byfleet (Lock 2 on Basingstokc Canal (GR186 046 615) 10.15am. If you need transport contact Bill Homewood 0276 61343.
Sunday 7th October
Society's annual fund raising sponsored walk along canal. For entry forms and offers to help marshal, contact Bill Homewood on 0276 61343.
Sunday 28th October
Car Treasure Hunt along line of canal. Family contest. Prizes to be won (see details below).
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A TASTE OF SAILING HISTORY
BUILT in 1928 Cabby was the last full sized, wooden hulled Thames Sailing Barge launched. Still in excellent condition after a long working life, she now serves as a passenger carrier.
These distinctive boats look simple but are actually very specialised. Built to operate in the rivers and creeks around the Thames estuary and the east coast, their very shallow draft and near flat bottom enabled them to travel with ease to the most remote wharf. They carried 3,200 sq. ft. of sail on their two gaff rigged masts and over 150 tons of cargo in their holds. Their normal crew was just two persons, often being only one man and a boy.
This is your chance for a trip into history aboard Cabby. Experience the very special thrill of a sailing ship coming alive under your feet, and the smell of the wind and sea.
She moors at Yarmouth, IOW for just two weeks each year (the second and third week in August). The trip down and over the water from Lymington is an outing in itself, but sailing up the Solent makes a unique adventure.
Places are limited to thirty so I shall have to book early. For a potted history, itinerary and details of costs etc. contact me as soon as possible on Camberley 61343 or send a card to 4 Larch Close, Camberley, Surrey GU154DB.
As with all our trips the more people that join the cruise the cheaper the costs, phone now and make a provisional booking.
Call Bill Homewood on 0276 61343.
DAY OUT TO K & A
FOLLOWING in the wake of the Queen's official re-opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal on 5th August, the Society's coach trip has been moved from July to Sunday 23rd September, visiting the famous Caen Hill flight of locks; the Claverton water wheel powered pumping station; Devizes canal museum and, if time permits, the grand Dundas Aqueduct. Inclusive costs: Adult £10.00, child £8.25. For times, pick up points, itinerary and bookings contact Bill Homewood.
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WATERWAY THEATRE COMES TO TOWN
THE popular Mikron Theatre Company will be performing at the West End Centre, Queens Road, Aldershot on Thursday 26th July as part of their 1500 mile national tour aboard their 54-year old narrowboat Tyseley.
Sponsored by Calor Gas and Honda UK, the Society is supporting Mikron this year, which is a small company of young performers, both musical and theatrical, who have been touring for the past 5 years.
Of the two productions they will be performing this year, the Company has chosen 'Free for All' which is not only topical but appropriate to the Basingstoke Canal. Billed as 'an environmentally friendly musical', it takes a humorous look at the conflicting interests on the waterways, posing such contentious questions as — "Is recreation a dirty word?" and "Should boats be banned?".
Don't miss the revealing and certainly entertaining answers in 'Free for All', written by Mike Lucas and Sarah Parks with lyrics by Jim Woodland one of Englands best singer/songwriters.
Tickets £4.95. Booking in advance from West End Centre box office, tel: 0252 330040. Performance 8.00pm.
MEMBERS' CANAL TRIPS
Tuesday evenings aboard the John Pinkerton from Winchfield at 7.30pm. Last trip on 31st July.
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CANAL TREASURE HUNT
GIVE your feet a rest and join the Society's first Treasure Hunt by car along the canal on Sunday 28th October taking in the major features on and near the waterway. Entry fee £2.50 per car with 50% going towards prizes for the winners. There are also competitions for younger treasure hunters. The route will not consume more than a couple of gallons of fuel and speed will not help you win. Non car owners are invited to contact Bill Homewood and he will try to find a passenger seat for you. Full details and entry forms from Bill Homewood.
For details and bookings of all events contact: Bill Homewood, 4 Larch Close, Camberley, Surrey (0276 61343) after 7.00pm.
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NO EARLY PROSPECT FOR SANITARY STATIONS
WITH an increasing number of resident boats on the canal and a formal re-opening now less than twelve months away, there is an essential need for one or more sanitary stations. But the facility is unlikely to be provided this year.
Surrey Heath Borough Council had the forethought to construct a cesspit, close to the canal, at the southern end of Frimley Lodge Park two years ago. "We wrote to Surrey inviting the Council to submit plans for a sanitary station but have had no
response", a spokesman for the Parks and Leisure Department said, adding that water, electricity and sewage services were available for a canal boating service station.
Asked about Surrey's intended action, Mr. David Sayce said that the provision of sanitary stations were regarded as 'a very important part of the canal's facilities' but the problem was finance. "So long as there is a squeeze on capital expenditure all available money is going towards completing restoration", he said.
In addition to the site at Frimley, Mr. Sayce revealed that another site at Woking had been identified with
the local council's approval. "The facility is not likely to be provided in the short term, certainly not this summer", Mr. Sayce concluded.
Commented one local resident boat owner: "We don't even have anywhere to dump a bag of rubbish, let alone a facility for sanitary disposal, and the authorities arc asking licence fees comparable to navigations where fresh water and waste disposal facilities are available as a matter of course".
Mr. Sayce added that the BCA might provide the facility.
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£20,000 TUG BOAT FOR HANDICAPPED
A former mayor of Woking is aiming to raise £20,000 to buy a canal narrowboat for handicapped people to enjoy trips on the canal.
Mrs. Margaret Gammon, a Society member, named boating for the handicapped as her charitable appeal during her term as Mayor of Woking, for a second time, in 1987-88. But the money raised was not sufficient to purchase the type of traditional canal boat suitable for handicapped passengers, so Mrs. Gammon continued her fund raising activities, without the publicity benefits of her mayoral office, but determined to achieve her ambition.
Now Margaret Gammon, with a group of local people, has registered a newly formed charity called 'Woking Recreational Boating for the Handicapped' which is setting out to boost her fund raising efforts and actively to help handicapped people to enjoy boating.
To launch the organisation in a practical way a party of 40 menially and physically handicapped people of all ages took a trip on the John Pinkerton, which was provided free of charge. Transport to the canal was contributed by Alder Valley in their special Access Coach designed for the handicapped.
Making an unusual official visit outside the Borough, the newly elected Mayor of Woking, Cllr. Rhod Lofting was at Colt Hill to greet the passengers and see them off on their trip up the canal.
John Pinkerton party (left to right) Sally Ray, the Mayor of Woking Cllr. Rhod Lofting, voluntary helper Karin Hayden, Iclac Hussain, Mrs Margaret Gammon and Susanna Hayes.|
Also on the canal at Colt Hill was the Mildred Stocks designed and built for handicapped passengers, especially those confined to wheel-chairs.
The craft is named after a former chairman of Hart District Council who chose the project for her charitable appeal. The craft is available for hire and is run by the Fleet based Boating for the Handicapped Association.
The new Woking organisation has nearly £8,000 towards their target of £20,000 to buy a 30ft replica Shropshire Union Canal tug.
"The design of the boat is ideal for the purpose, with only minor modifications", commented Mrs. Gammon, "and the traditional shape and decorations will make it very attractive to see on the canal".
The fund raisers are hoping for a good response to their appeal for donations and members so that they may be able to order the boat this autumn to be ready next year. "That would be a tremendous way to celebrate the reopening of the canal", said Mrs. Gammon, who is chairman of 'Woking Recreational Boating for the Handicapped'.
For details of membership, offers to help or donations, their secretary is society member John Coles, 33A The Grove, Woking, Surrey GU21 4AF. Tel: 0483 766206 (evenings).
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JOIN THE SPONSORED WALK FUND RAISERS
EVERY members can help make the Society's annual sponsored towpath walk a success. Firstly, we need as many members and their friends to seek sponsorship and join the walk. Ask your friends colleagues at work and family to sponsor you for a few pence a mile and you will be surprised how the total mounts up. There's a sponsorship booklet with this issue and there are plenty more if you need them.
Maybe you are involved with a local school, youth group, club or any other organisation needing funds. Tell your friends about the Society's walk and our offer which allows participants to share their sponsorship money equally between the Society and another chosen charity appeal. A good deal of work goes into organising a sponsored walk so its a golden opportunity for other organisations to raise funds without the need to print forms, plan the route and organise the marshal points.
For members who cannot or do not wish to walk, you can participate by sitting down and acting as a marshal along the route handing out drinks and checking forms.
So there's no excuse for anyone not to help. Please make a note of the date and decide how you are going to assist this major fund raising event of the year.
Our aim is to raise £5,000 for a much needed new work van for the Society's voluntary working parties to get tools and equipment to sites. Please help meet the target by signing up your sponsors or contacting Bill Homewood (0276 61343) with your offer to assist.
Bill Homewood writes: To those who are preparing to walk I must apologise for the rather 'heavy' walkers detail sheet. Please accept it as a need to tidy up one or two loose ends. Needless to add I look forward to seeing hundreds of you on the day and I hope that you have an enjoyable outing. Thank you in advance for your effort'.
Air stewardess Claire Howard collects the key to a Dawncraft cruiser from Galleon Marine proprietor Gordon Muchamore who donated a 3-day holiday as star prize in last year's Grand Draw.|
200 CLUB WINNERS
With a record number of members the 1990 Club is doing well.
Winners in February were: Mrs. M.N. Knowles £63.00; Mrs. H.D. Jamieson £32.00; Mr. and Mrs. P. Redway £16; Mrs. P. Bohling £16.
April winners were: Mr. and Mrs. P. Redway £66.00; Mr. J.P. Michaelis £33.00; Mr. C.E. Duke £17; Miss H.J.Connel £17.
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Miss G. Lothian, Water End, Basingstoke
Mr. E Hayward, Baughurst
Mr. R.M. Tinslcy, Church Crookham
Mr. and Mrs. R. May, Fleet
Mark Roper, Yateley
Mr. and Mrs. J. Phillips, Fleet
Mr. S. Hemmings, Fleet
Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Hockenhull,
Mr. and Mrs. R J. Edmunds, Ewshot
Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Earnshaw, Horsell
Miss K. Mundcll and Mr. B.
McGrath, Church Crookham
Mr. L. Cowee, Woking
Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, Wimbledon
Mr. J.T. Gilfoyle, Aldershot
Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Dawson, Yateley
Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland, Fleet
Mr. C.F. Smith, Woking
Mrs. S. Anderson, Fleet
Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Blanchette, Fleet
Mr. D.R. Taylor, Addlestone
United Reformed Church, Hersham
Basingstoke and Deane Canoe Club
Mrs. M.V. Mumford, West Byfleet
Mr. and Mrs. C.R.P. Arnold, South Ham
Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Alderton, Odiham
Mr. and Mrs. D.M. Longley, Fleet
Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Winks, Ascot
Mr. and Mrs. J. Shergold, Frimley
Miss H.J. Mills, Ash Vale
Miss M. Dobbins, Alton
Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Townsend, Fleet
Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Tullett, Winklebury
Mr. M. J. Eland, Watford
Mr. and Mrs. I.M. Wightman, Fleet
Mr. W.F. Herbert, Virginia Water
Mr. and Mrs. C. Sturton, Mytchett
Mr. and Mrs. P.J. Dunford, Farnham
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SPONSORED WALKERS' SUCCESS
DESPITE a relatively low turnout, last year's sponsored walkers raised £2584 for the Society. The credit goes to organiser Bill Homewood, walk treasurer, Martin Spong, those who helped signpost the route, marshals and, of course the walkers. Special mention must go to Alison Snell of Arford, Headley who raised £691, over a quarter of the total, Margaret Coles who raised £202 and nominated the boating appeal fund for Woking Handicapped to receive a further £202 and Mrs. P. Martin who walked for £90.
Treasurer Martin Spong apologised for the long delay in finalising the account which he said took him longer than anticipated.
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CORRECTION ('The Great Canal Auction' - BC News 151): Mrs. Blundell's Boathouse was not the one at Ash Vale owned by the Harmsworths but situated on Ash Wharf. The last barge to Woking in 1950 was loaded with timber — the final load of coal by barge to the gasworks was delivered in 1936.
SHEERWATER leak'thought to need 40 tons of clay to plug the 20-ft hole turned out to be a problem area needing 7,500 tons of clay to puddle 600 yards of canal bed. Puddling has now been extended down to Lock 6.
SURREY naturalists seeking to bend the ears of councillors by making formal presentations to them have been turned away by at least one local council who think they've heard enough already.
PROMISE of £2,500 towards restoration completion funds made by Woking BC for financial years 1989/90 and 1990/91.
MEMBERS of Surrey's library information services and leisure committee (they finance the canal) enjoyed a trip aboard the John Pinkerton from Deepcut to Ash Lock, hosted by the Society on 20th April.
APPLICATION to develop canalside area known as the Klondike near Brickworks Arms, Up Nately, has been refused.
STEREO metric radar instrument capable of revealing underground strata and objects to a depth of 30 metres may be used to assess condition of Greywell Tunnel roof over fall area.
REFRESHMENT van, approved by HCC and run by Les & Sue Thompson open at weekends at Colt Hill.
Gill Heather, crew trainer for the John Pinkerton, and Robert Knight (second left) with trainee crews. Potential crew members should join the Society 'club night' at Barley Mow Bridge on Tuesday evenings.|
14th July — canoe race, Fleet - Eelmore Flash and Ash Lock - Greywell.
15th July — canoe sprint races. Queens Avenue Bridge - Claycart Bridge (morning) Fleet- Ash Lock (afternoon).
Scouts Raft Race — Ash Lock area (morning), Barley Mow Bridge (afternoon).
Fishing matches at Chequers Bridge and Colt Hill.
20th July — canoe race along whole length of canal.
12th August - Skipper class dinghy picnic cruise - Famborough Road -Frimley Lodge Park. Royal Canoe Club event, Frimley Lodge Park.
15th September — Westel Thames Canoe Club Relay race New Haw - Colt Hill.
Farnborough Scouts canoe event — Ash Lock area.
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DRY DOCK CHARGES
A DAILY rate of £25.00 has been added to the scale of charges announced by the Basingstoke Canal Authority for use of the Frimley Dry Dock adjacent to Lock 28.
Following the announcement of weekly charges in May, the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club pointed out that many boaters would welcome use of the facility for minor repairs and inspections. The BCA agreed to introduce a single day fee of £25.00 in addition to the 2-7 day fee of £70 and £50 per week or part thereafter.
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COPY DATE FOR SEPTEMBER 1990 BC NEWS: 31 St JULY 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, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252 715230)
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Bamsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9HX. (09905 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Aldershol, Hampshire, GU13 9SW. (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Nigel Parsons, 14 The Piccards, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5DW. (0483 571709)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Winchcombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH (0256 702109)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashleail, 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, Fleet, 1 lampshire, GU13 9PS. (0252 622956)
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Aldershol, Hampshire, GUI2 SAY. (0252 313076)
Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages, St. John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU211SL, (0482 721710)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Famborough, Hampshire, GU14 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Managers: Sue Palmer & Bernie Timms, 20 Charthouse Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 5LS. (0252 26758)
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Talks Organiser: 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)
Typesetting by Distinguished Data — Telephone: Aldershot (0252) 850311
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