Declarations of interest:
Countryside Group Manager, Surrey County Council
Jo Heath, Head of Countryside,
Hampshire County Council
points raised during the discussion:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Officers stressed
that there would be more information available to Members regarding
proposals with the CRT after November 2017.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- That it would scope
out the possibility of a task and finish group to review future
business case proposals.
- That it
would approve the business objectives and long term direction for
the management of the Basingstoke Canal.
- 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.
- That it
would consider the detailed business cases prior to final approval
by the relevant authorities.