Canal Boat - - This Month - NICK WALL Ed­i­tor

Why the Bas­ingstoke Canal needs a ‘bridge’ built to safe­guard its fu­ture

Ihaven’t boated on the Bas­ingstoke but sev­eral of us here at CB have and they wax lyrical about it, which is un­der­stand­able; I’ve en­joyed it just from the tow­path. Of course it has its chal­lenges, but the fact re­mains it’s a lovely wa­ter­way in an area not over­bur­dened with canals.

The trou­ble is you can’t have some­thing for noth­ing, some­one has to pay for it and the bills are mount­ing. There’s now a £6-mil­lion main­te­nance back­log and its sur­vival hangs on more on­go­ing fund­ing. The cur­rent own­ers Sur­rey and Hamp­shire County Coun­cils have done a nearly okay job of pro­vid­ing money since the canal re­opened in 1991, but their fi­nances are get­ting stretched.

Four pro­pos­als over its fu­ture all have prob­lems for one rea­son or an­other (see page 6). Per­haps the most ob­vi­ous op­tion would be a trans­fer to CRT, but the is­sue here is that such a move would un­der­stand­ably re­quire a sub­stan­tial ‘dowry’ oth­er­wise it would po­ten­tially take cash from other wa­ter­ways.

The coun­cils and CRT say they are too far apart for an agree­ment, but we reckon they must build a bridge be­tween their po­si­tions to en­sure the Bas­ingstoke’s fu­ture – af­ter all, Wil­liam Jes­sop didn’t let any­thing get in the way of build­ing it in the first place and we owe it to all the vol­un­teers who re­stored it.

Fi­nally – which bit of ‘slow down’ over a bridge don’t driv­ers un­der­stand?

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