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The new facilities building and club headquarters for Aylesbury Canal Society at Circus Field basin on the edge of Aylesbury was formally handed  over  to Society Chairman Bryan Barnes ( left) on 12 September by Peter Hubbard of the builders, Lodge Park Construction Limited.   

Some landscaping and internal fitting out works remain for the Society to complete but members transferred the Society’s goods and chattels from its temporary accommodation to the new HQ at a well-attended and very busy working party over the weekend of 13/14 September.

The £1.7m new building, partly funded by the sale of the Society’s previous lease on the town basin in Aylesbury and by a substantial bank loan, will provide a new headquarters for the Society, after over 40 years in an adapted prefabricated  home dating back to the aftermath of World War 2.  The building contains a Function Room, boaters’ laundry and shower facilities,  workshops and two docks.

The first floor Function Room, with lift access and an internal capacity for 300 people,  leads to a balcony with views overlooking the Aylesbury Arm and across the Society’s basin which accommodates some 40 members canal craft and provides space for visiting boats.  There is a bar in the Function Room and supporting toilet facilities are also adjacent.

The laundry contains two washing machines and two tumble dryers while the three showers include one suitable for wheelchair users.   All will be available to visiting boaters who can expect the usual ACS welcome on arrival.

The indoor, temperature controlled and ventilated wet dock  is over 72 ft long and will accommodate a boat with an air draught of up to 2.2 m, beneath the automatic folding door.

The covered and ventilated dry dock space is also centrally heated and is accessed by a slipway and electric winch with capacity for boats up to 72ft  long  and weighing as much as  30 Tonnes.  At normal water levels the draught above the trolley is sufficient to accommodate a former working boat.   Once inside the dock, boats can be lifted off the slipway trolley with a purpose designed hydraulic lift system and placed on stands  to allow the bottom to be pressure washed easily and worked on at a suitable height.

Metered single and 3-phase electric outlets are provided in each dock along with user-managed  central heating, fan and light-level controls. The  essential equipment for cleaning and painting boats, such as sanding machines with dust extraction, access platforms  and a 220 bar/3200 psi pressure washer, are included as part of the docks’ hire charges.  Dock users are also provided with separate toilet and shower facilities and a rest room with equipment for coffee and light meals away from the working space.

Receiving the keys to the new building Chairman Bryan Barnes said    “Handover of our new headquarters building marks the culmination  of a long and complex process triggered by the Aylesbury Waterside development.  It  opens a new and exciting chapter in the Society’s history but we will continue to promote the use of the Arm and to welcome visiting boats as we always have done.  We look forward to seeing old friends and new faces at Circus Field and hope that many canal users will be able to join us for the official opening celebration and Bicentenary of the Arm in 2015”