Future of the Basingstoke Canal is at risk

Basingstoke Canal Society (BCS)

On the 11th March 2024, the Hampshire County Council Universal Services Select Committee met to discuss the Future management of the Basingstoke Canal. The Canal is owned by both Hampshire County Council (HCC) and Surrey County Council (SCC). It has been jointly managed since its acquisition in the 1970s. Whilst the Canal does generate some income from its leisure activities it relies upon funding from “riparian” local authorities, which border the entire stretch of the canal. Due to pressures on these local authorities, there is no guarantee of ongoing funding.

The Universal Services Select Committee has agreed to the preferred option to retain the Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA) and to continue to enable leisure navigation. This is however based on delivering the statuary minimum activities, with a forecast revenue shortfall of £96,000 which will result in the depletion of their reserves in 2026/27. The future of the BCA is there for uncertain and continues to be at risk, and could faul into disrepair. Leisure / Sporting activities like boating, canoeing and camping could cease as they are not currently financially viable without support.

Ownership & Assets

The cost to maintain the Basingstoke Canal is significant, the Canal is made up of:

  • 32 mile Basingstoke Canal is jointly owned by Hampshire and Surrey County Councils
  • Acquired in 1970’s to manage the risk, protect the Canal and provide for public recreation
  • Majority of Hants section is raised on earth embankment – creating a risk of sudden flooding on failure
  • 29 locks (28 in Surrey)
  • Mytchett Centre (visitor facilities, function room, offices and shop), car parking, campsite and café – owned by SCC
  • Deepcut Lock Workshop owned by SCC and used by the BCA
  • Ash Lock depot & offices – shared with Blackwater Valley Partnership owned by HCC
  • Car parks in Hampshire – 5 in Hampshire with charges at Reading Road, Fleet

If you enjoy the cancel and wish to see it supported there are things you can do today to help ensure the future of the Canal.

Charlotte Rodgers (Press & Marketing, The Basingstoke Canal Society) contacted Ash Parish News to warn that the Canal is at risk,  and is asking local residents to support their charity’s campaign to Keep Your Canal Alive.

The Basingstoke Canal needs your help as its funding has been reduced

If you enjoy this wonderful canal, please help us protect it for the future. The Canal needs your help as its funding has been reduced. We know the value it brings to so many people and communities and want to make sure the canal is open for future generations.

1. Donate

Help fund one of our projects. A donation no matter how large or small can make a difference when we all work together.

Donate easily online at www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk/donate-and-support/

2. Become a Member

For a small annual subscription, you will become a member and get regular updates on the work to protect the canal as well as a free trip on one of our members’ evening boat excursions.

Become a member online – www.basingstoke-canal.org. uk/get-involved/become-a-member/subscription-plan/

3. Volunteer with us

Join our team of over 270 volunteers helping to keep our Canal clean and tidy, running projects, crewing boat trips and fundraising  – just to name a few roles!

Find out more about volunteering here www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk/get-involved/ volunteering/ find and follow us on www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk

The Basingstoke Canal Society are the guardians of the Basingstoke Canal and has been promoting and campaigning for the sustainable future of the Canal since 1966.

The Canal is owned by Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, and we work very closely with these and the local authorities to protect and maintain this beautiful waterway.

The Basingstoke Canal provides a wide range of benefits for local communities and those visiting the area:

Helping improve our health and wellbeing

The Basingstoke Canal is a free green gym on our doorsteps providing a place to relax or exercise whether that be walking, running, boating or fishing.

A place to appreciate nature

The Canal is a designated SSSI (Special  Site of Scientific Interest) hosts a wide variety of plants and animals including some unique species. It’s a great place for nature spotting.

Delivering value for money

Every £1 donated delivers £10 in benefit to the local economy.* The Canal is a beautiful attraction driving spending in our area.

*IWA – Glasgow Caledonian University Study 2018

Unfortunately, the Canal is currently underfunded, and this poses a significant risk to its short-term running and long-term existence. We need to Take Action NOW.


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