Agenda item


Purpose of the report: To outline Surrey County Council’s and Hampshire County Council’s work on identifying a long term sustainable solution for the management of the Basingstoke Canal.



Declarations of interest:






Lisa Creaye-Griffin, Countryside Group Manager, Surrey County Council

Jo Heath, Head of Countryside, Hampshire County Council


Key points raised during the discussion:


  1. Officers outlined the report to the Members of the Committee. It was stressed that Option B presented the most viable option for the future governance arrangements of the Basingstoke Canal. It was noted that this included an investment in the canal to improve viability and to improve the offer of a transfer of assets to the Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT). It was also noted that the CRT would be invited to the next meeting of the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee (JMC) to discuss their work and the proposed offer with Members.


  1. It was noted by officers that the service was continually, as part of the options appraisals, considering efficiencies to be made to reduce operational costs to the funding authorities.

  2. Officers noted that the County Councils were considering Capital investment in the canal to reduce the current arrears of maintenance and improve future viability of the canal. The overall aim of improving the offer would be a smooth transfer of assets to the CRT.

  3. Officers stressed that there would be more information available to Members regarding proposals with the CRT after November 2017.

  4. Members expressed support for the work being undertaken with the CRT and highlighted that there was  hope that there would be positive engagement between the CRT and the funding authorities. Members also noted the role that District and Borough authorities could have in improvements to the canal and in promoting the canal as a public resource. It was suggested that there could be improved partnership work with District and Borough authorities to promote the canal, highlighting digital promotion as a potential area to explore more fully.
  5. Members stressed that there was a requirement to put in a strong case to District and Borough authorities when there was a requirement to further develop the canal and that District and Borough authorities would need to have a greater input in the development for the canal.

  6. It was questioned whether the Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA) was looking for additional income streams to fund projects. Officers confirmed that they had applied for the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (M3LEP) funding for the Campsite development project and that there were other opportunities that were being looked into of a similar nature by the BCA.

  7. Members suggested that the JMC should meet more frequently to analyse business cases relating to income generation for the Canal. The Chairman suggested that there could be scope to set up a small business case task and finish group to analyse any potential business cases.

  8. It was questioned by Members whether partner authorities should be required to provide their full contributions. Officers noted that the BCA had maintained its service without the full contributions of all partner authorities, and that the service must be realistic as a result of the financial pressures on the partner authorities. However, it was suggested that the Chairman write to partner authorities to highlight the importance of maintaining current funding levels to ensure the effective maintenance of the canal.

  9. Officers stressed that the core priority for the funding authorities was to maintain the safe operation of the canal.



Actions/ further information to be provided:


The Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee agreed:


  1. That it would scope out the possibility of a task and finish group to review future business case proposals.

  2. That it would approve the business objectives and long term direction for the management of the Basingstoke Canal.

  3. That the Chairman would issue communications to all partner authorities encouraging them to maintain their revenue contribution as close to current levels as they can for the next 3-5 years to assist in securing the long term financial future of the Canal.

  4. That it would consider the detailed business cases prior to final approval by the relevant authorities.


Supporting documents: