New visitor centre plan

THE Wey & Arun Canal Trust has begun work on a visitor centre beside the canal at Loxwood.

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.

“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’. This 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 said: “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 2,800 members.”

The project is expected to be opened by Christmas