PLANNING permission has been granted to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust for rebuilding of Southland Lock.
This is the next lock in the direction of the summit and the Wey from the restored centre section of the canal, with permission given by Chichester District Council.
Conservation issues were behind the decision to rebuild the lock slightly further north than the original Southland Lock, hence the need for planning permission. The decision was eased by the fact that the bricks which were used for the original were ‘recycled' many years ago, so a complete rebuild would be needed even if the lock stayed in its original location.
The approval, as expected, contains several conditions. Project Manager Eric Walker says:
"We are overjoyed to receive the approval at long last. We knew that this was a sensitive site so there would be special considerations; we can now start planning in earnest for work to start when we, and all the other interested parties, are satisfied that the conditions will be met."
At the same planning meeting, the council approved local plans to replace the metal barriers on the B2133 road crossing bridge at Loxwood on the operational section with more traditional brick-faced parapets, topped with a metal railing.
Controversy over the barriers (pictured) has been highlighted in narrowboatworld, which was caused by the original bridge parapet proposals being overturned at a late stage by the highway authority, which insisted on tall metal barriers to meet bridleway regulations.
Considerable local opposition
Though the Trust reluctantly went along with these demands, not wishing to incur extra costs or delays that would inevitably result from challenging the ruling, the design caused considerable local opposition to the appearance of the bridge.
The Trust has therefore worked closely with Loxwood Parish Council and the Loxwood Society to come up with a ‘softer' design for the parapets which will still meet highway regulations, also acting as fund-holder for a local ‘buy a brick' campaign to fund the work.