Canal rural online dating
In what has been variously heralded as a triumph for the Big Society, proof positive of the Government’s commitment to a “bonfire of the quangos”, and a shiny new model for social enterprise, responsibility for England and Wales’s 2,000 miles of canals, rivers and locks, along with the 2,700 listed structures that line them, was this month handed over from British Waterways to the new Canal & River Trust (CRT).
It has been heralded as the biggest-ever “spin-out” from the state to the charitable sector.
A walk along the towpath can bring you huge benefits, but at the moment it feels like we boaters are being asked to pay for it via our licence fees on behalf of everyone else.” David Dare is managing director of Oxfordshire Narrowboats, providing holiday hire vessels on the Oxford Canal and also on the Kennet and Avon, which runs for 87 miles and links Reading to Bristol via 100 locks.
He doesn’t share the damning verdict of those at about the recent record of British Waterways.
Ministers, celebrities (including Brian Blessed, Hugh Dennis and David Suchet) and the Prince of Wales have all been busy enthusing in public about the new organisation, which it is hoped one day will grow into a waterborne version of the National Trust.
But at the helm of Albert, Richards is not convinced.
“The very last thing I want to see is commercial exploitation interfering with that, advertising hoardings next to locks and Coca- Cola banners on the towpath.” Hampton is keen instead that the value to a wider constituency than just boaters of a canal system dating back to the Industrial Revolution be recognised in funding arrangements.
In particular they objected to the wholesale transfer of the senior management team from the quango British Waterways to run the CRT.
With them went salaries that are very high by charity standards, and a rumoured hole in the pension pot.
“They had to deal with fairly savage cost-cutting, but I would say that our canals are generally in a better state of repair now than they have been for the past 20 years.” And he defends the decision to bring over the old management team to run the new charity.
“Running a canal is a specialised business, so it makes sense to hold on to that expertise.” But he’s still apprehensive.Come to Cheshire for a short break and choose from a fabulous range of accommodation, from luxury hotels to cosy self catering cottages, friendly farmhouses to campsites, you are sure to find something to suit you.