Agenda and minutes

Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee - Thursday, 3 November 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Mytchett Canal Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey, GU16 6DD

Contact: Joss Butler 

No. Item



    • Share this item


    Apologies were received from Saj Hussain, Adam Bates, Hayley Eachus, Helen Whitcroft, Angela Gunning, Verna Smith, Kate Tuck Ellie May, Tony Balch, Bill Hansell and Marisa Heath. A substitute attending on behalf of Bill Hansell.


    It was noted that Jonathan Glen, Vice-Charman, would act as Chairman for the meeting. 




    • Share this item

    To agree the minutes of the previous meeting as a true and accurate record of proceedings.


    The minutes were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.



    • Share this item

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter

    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting


    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.



    There were none.



    • Share this item

    To receive either any questions or petitions.



    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00 noon four working days before the meeting [20 October 2022].

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting [19 October 2022].

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.


    There were no questions or petitions received.


Action Tracker and Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 187 KB

    • Share this item

    To note the Joint Management Committee’s (JMC) Action Tracker and Forward Work Programme.

    Additional documents:






    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    The Chairman introduced the item. No comments were raised.

    2.    In regard to the Forward Work Programme, members were asked to contact the Chairman, Vice-Chairman or Committee Manager to put forward any suggestions for future items to consider.




    The Joint Management Committee (JMC) agreed the action tracker and Forward Work Programme.


Risk Register pdf icon PDF 338 KB

    • Share this item

    A Risk Register is maintained highlighting that the key risks relate to the partnership ceasing to function properly through partners withdrawing funding, or if the BCA fail to inspect critical infrastructure correctly. The annual review has highlighted a significant increase in risk especially surrounding funding levels.

    Additional documents:



    James Taylor, Strategic Manager – Basingstoke Canal


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1. Officers introduced the report and highlighted that the Risk Register was considered by the JMC annually at each November meeting. Members noted:

    a.    That three risks had got worse or had become more likely in the past 12 months

    b.    That the risk associated with culvert inspections (BCA53) was now a red risk and that the cost of the inspection was three times higher compared to 10 years ago.

    c.     That a risk associated with the recruitment and retention of staff had declined.

    d.    That the risk associated with earthworks remained a red risk.

    e.    That a key area of risk which had increased was surrounding Reservoir Safety due to increased standards by the Environmental Agency.

    f.      Two risks related to staff had moved in the right direction.

    1. The Chairman highlighted that the highest risk related to funding.
    2. A Member of the JMC highlighted an issue related to bridges. The Strategic Manager informed Members that the majority of bridges were not managed by the County Councils as part of the Canal and therefore issues related to bridges were not included within the Risk Register. The Strategic Manager however highlighted that there was a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act to the public using the Canal.
    3. In regard to Risk BCA 54, a Member stated that COVID-19 was a declining risk and therefore should be reduced within the Risk Register. The Strategic Manager stated that the risk had declined due to the vaccination programme, increased number of staff, and reduced legal restrictions.
    4. A representative from Rushmoor Borough Council stated that they needed to cut funding to the Basingstoke Canal for 2023/24 due to the need to create a balanced budget. The Member state that they did not intend for the funding to be cut permanently. The following comments were made:
      1. The Chairman noted that, under the Memorandum of Agreement, a year’s notice was required to amend agreed funding allocations. Following discussion, it was noted that a letter was sent to the wrong addressee and therefore was not sent to the Canal Authority to provide notification of the change.
      2. The Chairman asked that a letter be sent to the Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council to highlight the year’s notice requirement, to confirm that no letter of notification had been received, and to ask the Leader to reconsider the decision to withdraw funding.
      3. A Member suggested that a letter be sent to all chief executive officers of council’s that provide funding to the Canal to remind of the requirement to provide a year’s notice.
      4. A Member suggested that council’s have their voting rights removed from the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee in the event of funding withdrawal.
      5. The representative from Rushmoor Borough Council stated that he would bring back comments to his council’s leadership.
      6. An officer highlighted the responsibility for council’s to provide open spaces to local residents. In response, the representative from Rushmoor Borough Council provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1922.


Revised Budget 2022/23, Forecast Outturn 2022/23, Forward Budget 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 434 KB

    • Share this item

    The purpose of this report is to present the revised budget and forecast outturn for the year ending 31 March 2023 as at September 2022, and the Forward Budget for the year ending 31 March 2024 to the Joint Management Committee for approval.



    Jenny Wadham, Honorary Treasurer

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager Basingstoke Canal

    Katie McDonald, Natural Capital Group Manager (SCC)


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    Officers introduced the report and provided a brief summary. It was noted that the the revised budget for the 2022/23 financial year was presented for approval to reflect extra works agreed for 2022/23 at the previous JMC meeting on 15 July. This increased the budgeted draw from reserves for 2022/23 from £30,000 to £82,000. Members further noted that the forecast outturn for the year to 31 March 2023 showed an £121,000 draw on reserves, compared to the revised budget draw of £82,000. Expenditure was forecast to be £21,000 under budget and income was forecast to be £60,000 lower than planned. In regard to the forward budget, officers had tried to create a balanced budget despite the increased pressures on income and expenditure. Issues related to there being no inflationary uplift on Partner contributions and there being a significant inflationary pressure on expenditure. The proposed overall income budget had been reduced by £12,000, primarily reflecting the

    reduction in Partner contributions. Several fee increases were expected to generate additional income; however, some income sources were suffering reduced demand. The Canal Maintenance Budget had been reduced to reflect the shortfall. Member noted details of the Capital Expenditure Programme and Reserves as outlined in the report. The officers went on to state that it was looking increasingly likely that there would be a need to draw from reserves just to cover annual expenditure and therefore there was need to consider other operating models.

    2.    The Natural Capital Group Manager informed the JMC that officers were concerned with how they would deliver services as expected and therefore it was agreed to commission consultants to provide advice and identify other possible funding models. The consultants would be speaking with members of the JMC to understand priorities for the Partnership. Members noted that an additional meeting would be scheduled in March 2023 to explore any options.

    3.    A Member of the JMC raised concerns around the reduction of the maintenance budget and stated that it would likely cause further issues in the long-term.

    4.    Members noted that consultants would consider all possible options to allow additional revenue to be produced for the Basingstoke Canal Authority.

    5.    Members asked whether the Authority could use capital funding to produce revenue streams. Officers stated that they would pass the comment on to the consultants however there could be issues related to the use of capital funds as they were usually only used for major maintenance on the Canal.

    6.    Members noted that the consultants selected had experience working with other waterways. Two meetings had been held between officers and the consultants and they had been signed off to begin work. Stakeholder meetings were expected to begin in December 2022.

    7.    A Member of the JMC stated that an asset register would be helpful to understand ownership of the assets belonging to the Canal. Furthermore, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2022.


Canal Management Report pdf icon PDF 453 KB

    • Share this item

    To inform the Committee of actions taken by the Strategic Manager and BCA Canal Manager in managing, maintaining and operating the Canal since the preceding meeting, and look forward work likely to happen in the 1st half of 2023; and to report the work of the Conservation Steering Group.



    Fiona Shipp, BCA Canal Manager

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager – Basingstoke Canal


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1. The officer introduced the report and provided a brief summary. Members noted details related to:

    a.    That the two key themes were related to water level and staffing.

    b.    In regard to water levels, Members noted that the levels of input from the aquifer held well and were able to continue to pass water down the Canal until on 22nd June when the Deepcut and Brookwood lock flights were closed. Ash Lock was closed on Fri 24th June. There was an unprecedented closure of the Mytchett pound to unpowered boats on 15th August and that this was the first time since restoration that this has had to happen due to drought and lack of water. The BCA were able to maintain powered and unpowered navigation in the Hampshire Pound for the full season. The Mytchett Pound remained extremely low but rainfall at the end of August allowed re opened to unpowered boats on 14th September.

    c.     Officers were concerned with the long-term impact of the recent drought however currently there were no signs of significant harm to either assets or wildlife. Members noted that there was no loss of fish stock.

    d.    In regard to staffing, two Assistant Rangers left in the last 6 months however there was recruitment to one of the vacant Waterway Ranger Posts. Five ranger posts were now filled with two currently undergoing training. One of the lock keeping positions had been moved to a seasonal position rather than a full time permanent position. 

    e.    Noted details of the Safer Street Project related to a number of indecent exposure incidents in Woking.

    f.      Noted details related to the income lost due to the drought. 

    g.    Noted that a Police Sergeant from Hampshire Police force had a two week placement and would be spending a further two weeks in the Winter. Officers stated that it was important for the Canal Authority to have contact with local police officers.

    h.    Thanked the Basingstoke Canal Society for their work with volunteers.

    i.      Provided an update on the Conservation Steering Group meetings which were held twice a year. An independent company had been asked to review records from the last 20 years to consider any correlations between the different factors that affect the Canal. The outcome of this would be a review of the Conservation Management Plan to try and import the quality of Special Scientific Interest. Members noted that this was a statutory duty.

    j.      In regard to asset management, Members noted details of the Deepcut Towpath Improvement, Swan “cutting” in Hampshire, Weirs and Sluices updates, as noted in the report.

    1. The Chairman felt the introduction was very detailed and asked that the Canal Manager attend the meeting held with the Leaders and Executive Members, as noted and agreed earlier in these minutes, to give an overview of the work done by the Canal Authority.
    2. In regard to the weed-cutter,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2122.


Alteration to the planned memorial bench scheme pdf icon PDF 351 KB

    • Share this item

    To agree an alternative method of bench management on the Basingstoke Canal to be able to better manage the Canal’s bench provision.



    Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    Officers introduced the report and provided a brief summary. Members noted the current issues with the current bench process and were asked agree an alternative method of bench management on the Basingstoke Canal to be able to better manage the Canal’s bench provision.

    2.    A Member noted that the benches were well-used along the Canal. In regard to fund-raising, the Member also said that funds needed to be raised to also maintain existing and future benches. 

    3.    Members acknowledged that the bench scheme could be an emotional subject for some people.

    4.    Members asked whether members of the public could pay for a memorial bench in full. Officers explained that this option was considered however there were additional costs related to administration and maintenance so the option was not viable. A Member suggested that, when paying for a memorial bench, additional funds were requested for administration and maintenance.

    5.    A Member suggested calling the scheme a ‘Bench Facilitation Scheme’ and framing the scheme around working with the client to find a mutually agreed bench and location. Officers acknowledged that not all benches would be ‘in memorial’ to something.

    6.    The JMC noted issues related to their being preferred locations for benches and other areas less preferred.

    7.    Members noted that the provision of benches in memorial was an issue across Surrey and Hampshire.

    8.    A Member suggested the use of recycled materials to create benches which had the benefit of reduced maintenance.

    9.    Members noted the option to allow members to the public to make donations towards benches in general rather paying to have a specific bench with a plaque placed along the Canal. In response, some members felt that members of the public would not find it as an appropriate option.

    10.  A Member stressed the importance of benches to some residents and the issues standardising benches could cause.

    1. A Member stated that the thrust of the paper was to reduce administration for benches which in the scheme of things was a more minor matter given the overall concerns about staffing and funds.


    Actions/ further information to be provided:






    The JMC agreed to authorise the BCA Canal Manager and Strategic Manager to work with the BCS to implement the alternative bench policy and scheme of provision of benches for the Canal as an alternative to a memorial bench scheme.


    The Chairman requested that, if following consideration of the comments raised during the meeting an amended scheme was considered worthwhile, a further report should be brought to the JMC for agreement.


Basingstoke Canal Society Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

    • Share this item

    To note a report from the Basingstoke Canal Society.



    Ian Moore, Basingstoke Canal Society


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1. The representative introduced the report and provided a brief summary of the Societies achievements. These included:

    a.    Sustained membership numbers at around 1,000 and reached over 8,000 per week followers on social media sites

    b.    Organised and led a number of Corporate Volunteer teams delivering over 850 hours of labour on Hydrocotyle weed, lock gate painting towpath clearing. Members noted the various organisations that had attended.

    c.     Noted various projects to reduce the carbon dioxide produced on the Canal.

    d.    Noted details of the Safer Streets Project. The scheme included increased patrolling of Police and Canal Watch Volunteers, and a reduced crime environment, and that the case study of Canal Watch on the Basingstoke Canal had won a public safety award and was now representing the United Kingdom at the international awards held in the United States of America. Members noted that part of the project included the removal of graffiti and the placement of CCTV cameras in some areas.

    e.    Members felt it was important to publicise the work of the Safer Streets Project. 

    f.      A Member raised the possibility of asking asylum seekers to volunteer their time to work on the Canal.


    Actions/ further information to be provided:






    The JMC noted the report.



    • Share this item

    The next meeting of the Basingstoke Joint Management Committee will be held on 7 June 2023.


    The Committee noted that its next meeting would be on 7 June 2023.