Surrey boaters are asked to speak out to prevent massive cuts to the funding of Basingstoke Canal

Surrey boaters are being asked to speak out to prevent massive cuts being made to the funding of Basingstoke Canal. Ian Brown, Director of Basingstoke Canal Authority, urged people to let their local politicians know if they ‘value and want to maintain this historic, special recreation and conservation feature.’

The future of the canal is at risk due to threats to funding being made by Surrey County Council. Their proposal follows a budget review carried out earlier this year, which recommended that major cuts in expenditure should be made. If the cuts to the canal’s funding – of one third, or £50,000, in the year 2006/7, and another £50,000 in the year 2007/8 – are implemented, it will be one of the areas worst affected in the region.

Basingstoke Canal Authority first heard of the cuts, which are scheduled to start from April, at the end of January this year. Mr Brown said that less funding would mean a high likelihood of the Surrey section of the canal failing, returning to the derelict state that it was in before restorations were completed in 1990. He strongly contests the proposals, saying of the situation: ‘It’s rather like throwing a baby out with the bathwater.’ The authority are now reviewing their expenditure to create an achievable business plan to secure future funding.