Attending the Chichester Ship Canal Trust annual meeting on Wednesday, November 16, I was shocked to hear the chairman Mike Bushel state his policy to abandon the central part of the canal and that he has no interest in forwarding the basic premise of the stated aims of the Trust, ‘the preservation, maintenance and improvement of canals – in particular the navigation between Chichester and the Harbour’.
According to Mike Bushel there is no interest in boats using the canal to access the City from the sea. The fact that the charity is called a Ship Canal and the most famous painting of the canal by Turner is of a three masted sea going ship with the cathedral in the background is of no consequence. And all thoughts of restoring the canal or maintaining any part not used by the tripboats should should be abandoned. The central one third section of the canal should be left to silt up. No concern for countryside conservation or the wildlife like the swans, ducks, moorhens, coots , herons, kingfishers or watervoles that require water.
His final nail in the coffin of canal restoration he announced that, in the near future, builders may buy part of the canal.
He even mentioned the name of a national builder, Barratts.
The Chichester Ship Canal Trust, a registered charity is now financially in a very sound position but seems to have totally lost sight of its basic charity objectives.
I am not alone in my concern for the future of the Chichester canal.
Six of the seven vice presidents of the Canal Trust have now left.
I appeal to all your readers who love our Sussex countryside and the wonderful water park of the canal to tell Mr Bushell to change his mind or to get out make way for someone with genuine interest in the preservation of our lovely canal.
Past Chairman and restoration worker,