The appointment of six new Regional Directors is part of Richard Parry's last throw of the dice as he attempts to replace the disappearing £50m grant from government with money for C&RT's contribution to the 'well-being' of the general public, something the public relations machine describes as 'the next phase of the organisation’s development, .. its transformation to become a charity for the waterways and well-being, enriching the lives of millions of local people with waterways on their doorstep'.
Given the switch away from being just a navigation authority, it is hardly surprising that Parry's second reorganisation of the Trust not only moves waterway management further away from the towpath and boaters; with six much larger waterway areas replacing 10 smaller ones and waterway experience coming second to wider qualifications. Four of the six appointments are external candidates, who C&RT claim, 'bring a rich and diverse range of experience to the Trust, including from the heritage, charity and local government sectors'.
The cost of the change are difficult to estimate, especially as C&RT adamantly refuses to say what the new Regional Directors will cost and we won't see figures in an annual report for another year. An educated guess is that the old 10 waterway managers probably cost around £700,000 to £800,000 a year. The six new directors, and the experienced deputies and assistants needed to back them up may well cost over £1,000,000.
Judge for yourselves what boaters and the canal system may gain or lose under the reorganisation.