RENOVATION work at Chichester Canal continues at pace as the next step was unveiled last Saturday (July 19).
The tireless work of volunteers has seen the building, commonly known as The Hickey Building, next to the new shop and cafe, renovated and reopened as part of a £250,000 project, with a lot of funding received from public and private groups.
Mayor of Chichester John Hughes was on hand for the opening of the new building and thanked the volunteers for all their hard work.
“You volunteers have done us proud,” he said.
“You’ve only got to look around you and see what’s here to see how proud we as Chichester citizens are of you.
“This is going to be good for the economy of Chichester. It’s going to be good for tourism.”
The building was officially opened by Richard Williamson, Observer writer and former manager of Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve for 30 years.
He said he had known the canal for half a century.
“I’m greatly honoured to be here today and I thank you very much for inviting me here to do this very worthy job,” he said.
The Chichester Ship Canal Trust formally acquired the building two-and-a-half years ago when it came on the market.
It had previously been linked to its neighbour the Richmond Arms.
Dating back to 1820, the building originally would have provided stables for horses towing barges up and down the canal.
For several years, the canal trust was able to use the top floor of the building for storage.
“Without it we really couldn’t have survived,” said Dudley Pound, deputy chairman,
“It did need a great deal of tender loving care.
“We were also clear that we wanted a good visitor centre.
“We needed somewhere for people to come and learn about the environment and about the canal.
“If it hadn’t been for our grant providers, we would never ever have been able to achieve what we’ve got here.”