...but Basingstoke still on the cards
While the major transfer of river navigations to the Canal & River Trust has been shelved yet again (see left), a much smaller CRT takeover could still be on the cards – involving the Basingstoke Canal.
Since restoration and reopening in 1991, the Basingstoke Canal has suffered from inadequate funding as its owner Surrey and Hampshire councils and particularly the smaller local authorities have not always provided their agreed contributions – leading to maintenance standards slipping. A proposed transfer to CRT stalled because the Trust was unable to take on the canal without an adequate financial package, which was beyond what the councils could support at the time.
However CRT Chief Executive Richard Parry told Canal Boat that the Trust and the county councils were “still talking”, that the councils were “keen to do a deal”, and that discussions centred around the size of the financial transfer needed.