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Con­tro­ver­sial plans re­cently ap­proved to re­de­velop the Dunsfold Aero­drome site (fa­mous as the lo­ca­tion for the BBC Top Gear test track) as hous­ing may well boost the restora­tion of the ad­ja­cent Wey & Arun Canal. Al­though the Wey & Arun Canal Trust main­tains a neu­tral stance on the pros and cons of pro­pos­als for a ‘new town’ of 1,800 homes, if it does get fi­nal ap­proval (and the Gov­ern­ment may ‘call in’ the ap­pli­ca­tion, lead­ing to a pub­lic in­quiry) WACT will press for the best re­sults for the canal, which could in­clude re­in­stat­ing the A281 cross­ing, one of the more se­ri­ous block­ages in the way of full restora­tion.


If you know some­one who’d like to try boat­ing, Drifters Wa­ter­ways Hol­i­days’ cen­tres around the UK are again hold­ing taster ses­sions, in­clud­ing free trips on skip­pered narrowboats as well as boat tours and hol­i­day dis­counts. It will be held in con­junc­tion with the Canal & River Trust on Sun­day 23 April, and no book­ing is re­quired. Visit­day to see what each cen­tre is of­fer­ing.


En­gi­neer­ing feats on the coun­try’s wa­ter­ways have been ac­knowl­edged by plaques from the In­sti­tu­tion of Civil En­gi­neers – one of which has been placed on a brick-built foot­bridge on the Rochdale near Manch­ester’s Piccadilly ( pic­tured). “Manch­ester’s canals helped fa­cil­i­tate the birth of the world’s first in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion in Lan­cashire, mak­ing Manch­ester the world’s first mod­ern in­dus­tri­alised city,” said Dar­rell Matthews, North West Re­gional Di­rec­tor of the ICE. The Kelvin Aque­duct on the Forth & Clyde also got a plaque and the Leeds & Liver­pool Canal re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate.

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