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Work starts on brick-faced parapets at Loxwood High Street Canal Bridge.

The Loxwood Society and the Wey & Arun Canal Trust are very pleased to announce that work has started to construct brick-faced parapets on the Loxwood High Street Canal Bridge.

Working with representatives of Loxwood Parish Council and Loxwood Society in a joint 'Loxwood Bridge Committee', the Wey & Arun Canal Trust agreed an acceptable design for the parapets. After much work with both West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and Chichester District Council (CDC), the brick-faced design was approved. The original galvanised design had attracted hundreds of protests on a petition at Loxwood Stores and at a subsequent public meeting. The new brick parapets will be lower and less obtrusive than the previous metal fence and will be in keeping with the award-winning Loxwood Lock and horse-bridge constructed by Canal Trust volunteers in 2005-6.

A great fundraising effort led by the Loxwood Society and the Canal Trust resulted in a decision to award a contract to Concept Building Services of Midhurst and work started on 10th April, with completion expected by early June. The fundraising team is grateful to the NatWest CommunityForce grants scheme, Chichester Community Chest, Billingshurst Lions and to individual Canal Trust members for some exceptionally generous contributions. Many others helped by symbolically "buying a brick" or buying tickets for one of the special canal cruises organised by Loxwood Society or generously responding to one of its appeals.

Commenting for the Loxwood Society, Len Milsom (co-chair) said "I praise the way WACT and the village have worked over three patient years to improve the appearance of the canal bridge BUT don't forget we're still fund raising. We have a Cream Tea Canal Cruise on Wed 16th May at 2.30pm and finally a Quiz Cruise with a Barbecue on Friday 8th June at 6pm. Please come, your support is essential. Just ring 01403 752032 for tickets.

Commenting for WACT, Sally Schupke (Chairman) said "The Canal Trust was determined to work with the Loxwood community to solve the problem of the unattractive metal bridge parapets. We have been through a long and patient process to identify the preferred design, obtain planning permission, raise funds and reach a legal agreement with West Sussex County Council. We would like the people of Loxwood and the surrounding area to be as proud of the restored canal as we in the Canal Trust are. The start of work on the new parapets is a great day for all who have contributed their time or money; we are especially grateful to Len Milsom of Loxwood Society for leading the local fundraising effort." Pictures of the work can be seen here.

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust

The 23-mile Wey & Arun Canal was built between 1813 and 1816 to link the Rivers Wey and Arun, thus forming an inland barge route between London and the south coast in order to provide a safe inland route for military supplies to the fleet in Portsmouth. However, after the Napoleonic Wars, it became a largely agricultural canal, carrying goods including coal, chalk, lime and farm produce. The coming of the railways finally sealed the canal's fate, the waterway being abandoned in 1871.

Since 1971, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, has been working to re-open navigation along the waterway and, once fully restored, to again link Littlehampton on the south coast with the River Thames via the River Wey.

For further information please contact Sally Schupke 01483 560543 (daytime) or mobile 07771 923368. Photos are available - please indicate what type of photo you would like. email: sas@weyandarun.co.uk

Last updated  Monday, 30 April, 2012
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