The Wey and Arun Canal Trust’s new visitor centre has been officially opened, with no sign of the protests which greeted the granting of planning permission in June 2011.
Trust chairman Sally Schupke said she believed most objectors had come round to the view that the building, situated at the canalside in Loxwood, was not the eyesore they feared.
More than 150 people had signed a petition against plans for the visitor centre.
They feared it would bring more traffic congestion to that part of the village and they labelled its contemporary design completely out of keeping with the neighbouring Grade II listed Onslow Arms pub.
But after the opening ceremony on Sunday, Mrs Schupke told the Observer: “Most people love it. They did not realise it would be like this.
“But now it is completed and landscaped, it does look splendid.I have not heard anything from the objectors.”
More than 200 trust supporters and guests watched as Mike Coleman, chairman of West Sussex County Council, cut the red ribbon and saluted the exceptional work by all the volunteers involved in the project to restore the waterway.
Mrs Schupke told the gathering the history of the canal centre went back a long way.
Full story see Midhurst and Petworth Observer April 5