Better by Water?

This has been a bumper couple of months for CRT’s finances. By quietly auctioning off four more listed properties, including two in London, they have another £4m in the coffers to spend, who knows on what? I do hope it’s for more of those tacky blue and white signs.

I wonder how the sale of the Top Lock Cottage at Tardebigge got past CRT’s Heritage Impact Assessment. Presumably the fact that this was where Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman met on nb Cressy, leading to the formation of the IWA, had no ‘impact’ on their decision. You’d have thought the IWA might have objected to the sale for this reason alone. Never mind, there’s still a plaque there marking the spot.

And then there’s Bugeddin. Listed it might be but there are ways around that protection for anyone with the knowledge and money to persist. Who knows, it may end up looking like this wonderfully enhanced lock cottage we found on our travels. Better by water? Hunt the cottage…

So, what protection has the nation got against this insidious privatising of the UK’s unique canal system? Staying with the idea of protection, you would think that CRT’s Protector, answerable to the Secretary of State, might have been notified occasionally of sales and maybe, just maybe, would say no. This must be perceived by CRT to be too much of a risk to take, as none of these sales has been put up before him. How about the Cultural Advisory Heritage Group set up by CRT? No, they will only advise ‘strategically’.

There’s always clause 2.2 of CRT’s charitable objects, which they signed up to, that stipulates that CRT will preserve and protect all heritage. Patently being ignored.

So we are left with Richard Parry’s assertion that CRT is very careful who they sell to. This is absurd. How does CRT control that at auction?

The only protection there seems to be is us, all of us, objecting to the continued sales of iconic canal properties. If you are concerned, email and write letters to your newspaper of choice.

CRT has already sold nearly 70 listed properties and, as if that was not enough, Braunston Stop House and Navigation House in Northwich are under threat of sale. Two more listed buildings that CRT should be proud to have in their care. But do they care enough?