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The restoration of the canal in Surrey took a significant step forward with the signing of a land lease for part of the Bramley Link section, south of Guildford.

With this agreement, the Trust can re-create 400 metres of the waterway on farmland owned by Trust supporters Susan and Malcolm Brenton.

It will enable a stretch of the canal from Shalford down to the Tannery Lane Bridge near Bramley to be restored.

Mrs Brenton commented at the signing ceremony that she first came across WACT when she saw its plans at consultation sessions run by the Trust for Bramley people in 2004.

“Our lower field was shown as a possible route, so that raised our interest level,” she said. “We have always been keen supporters of the Trust and are very happy to sign this lease.”

Mr Brenton added that the key word in the lease negotiations was ‘trust’. He felt there was a solid understanding on the part of both parties on how to get the restoration work done.

Also speaking at the ceremony, WACT’s Bramley Link Manager, Philip Oliver, thanked the Brentons for their generosity and commitment to the Trust.

He also praised the volunteers who have worked on the Bramley Link project so far, particularly on the Trust’s Hunt Nature Park project. The Newbury Working Party Group, the Waterway Recovery Group and the Trust’s own Midweek Working Party were singled out for specific praise.

“The development of the park shows local residents that the Trust is serious in its intent to create not just a canal but a linear park around a waterway,” he said.

A year-long environmental impact assessment is being carried out on phase one of the Bramley Link, from the River Wey at Shalford down to the Gosden Aqueduct over the Cranleigh Waters stream.

Also under way for this phase are a civil engineering design study and a full flood study. Mr Oliver said the three studies will support a planning application expected to be made in summer 2016.