The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has begun work on a visitor centre beside the canal at Loxwood, West Sussex. The centre will provide information about the canal restoration project, the history of the canal and local village information. A disabled toilet will be provided within the building.
"A dedicated amenity such as this has been long awaited and has been a long time in preparation," said WACT Chairman Sally Schupke. "For years we have had to make do with a temporary shed attached to the Onslow Arms pub for publicity and souvenir sales."
She continued: "The number of visitors to the area has increased significantly and better facilities are needed to meet their needs and also those of the volunteer staff."
The new building has been designed by Fordingbridge plc of Fontwell to have minimal impact on the environment. The low-carbon centre will be of timber construction, from sustainable sources, include an intelligent lighting system and a curved 'green roof'. The green roof will be planted as a wild flower meadow. High levels of insulation and efficient methods of heat capture and retention will ensure minimal energy use. The contract with Fordingbridge was signed in early August.
Sally Schupke comments: "There is also an overriding need for a building that reflects the achievements of WACT since its foundation, its contribution to the amenity [and economy] of the restored areas and one that is in keeping with the size of a voluntary organisation now numbering around 2800 members."
The services to the new building have been laid, and work is now underway on the concrete base. The pre-engineered structure will be erected by Fordingbridge and is scheduled to arrive on site during September. The project is scheduled to be finished ready for opening at Christmas.
Further information about the Wey & Arun Canal Trust is available from the Trust's office, on 01403 752403.
Notes for Editors
Further information is available from Bill Thomson, email@example.com
, 07777 668928
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust
The Wey & Arun Canal, "London's lost route to the sea" was originally opened in 1816 between the River Wey at Shalford, near Guildford, and Pallingham, near Pulborough, the head of navigation of the River Arun. It closed in 1871, due to railway competition. Since the 1970s the 23-mile waterway has been the subject of a campaign by volunteers led by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust to restore the route to navigation. Work has been undertaken in a number of locations, most notably the stretch near the Sussex/Surrey border at Loxwood. Over two miles in length, this includes five working locks, two public road crossings, an aqueduct, two farm bridges, and numerous minor works, all built or rebuilt through voluntary effort. Boat trips are available on this stretch, onboard several craft, including the 50-seater electrically-powered Wiggonholt.