The Company of proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation was set up by
Act of Parliament and the original Act and a number of ones that follow
it for the constitution of the Company. The last Act was passed in 1954
and this relieved the Company of its obligations to keep the canal open
for public navigation. Most of its other powers were left intact.
The Company is still owned by current owners of the original 200 shares
that were issued back in the 18th century and is run by volunteer
Directors elected from their number. Just over half of the shares are
owned by a separate Trust set up in the 1950s to ensure that the
Company would be run for the benefit of local people (click here for Trustee Page).
In 2005, the Company
leased the Canal to British Waterways for 999 years; BW at that time
intended to restore the canal and run it as part of the national
BW decided to pull out of
the Cotswold Canals Partnership and relinquished its role as lead
partner in February 2008. Stroud District Council adopted the role of
lead partner at the end of 2008 and a new charitable organisation, the
Stroud Valleys Canal Company, was formed to take over the BW lease of
the Stroudwater Navigation and to take on the ownership of the Thames
& Severn Canal between Stroud and the railway crossing just east of
Brimscombe Port. The CoPSN together with Stroud District Council,
Gloucestershire County Council and the Cotswold Canals Trust are the
four controlling members of SVCC which, in addition to controlling the
land, will assume the role of Navigation Authority.
Licenses therefore are available from SVCC but the CoPSN does maintain
a Boat Register for boat owners. This does not carry any navigation or
mooring rights with it but enables people to have their boats entered
with the oldest canal company still in existence and display their
registered number on the side of their boat. See the Boat Registration
page for more details.