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Sunday 16 December

Today's news from the web

  • Morse's man joins the boat people in Battle of Jericho observer.guardian.co.uk

    Kevin Whately, the actor famed for playing Sergeant Lewis in the Inspector Morse series, has joined forces with novelist Philip Pullman and zoologist Desmond Morris in a dispute that is being called Oxford's 'Battle of Jericho'. ...

  • Purton Hulks Champion Wins Award gazetteseries.co.uk

    A MARITIME historian has won a prestigious award for his commitment to nautical heritage. ...

  • Developers To Provide 300 000 thetelegraphandargus.co.uk

    Developers of £70 million Victoria Mills in Shipley will shell out almost £300,000 for British Waterways to improve links between the site and Saltaire. ...

Friday 14 December

Have you seen this boat?

WW reader David Firman thinks that whoever stole his boat "must have been very determined".

L&S Emerald is a 30ft Sea Otter, eight years old and green - or, at least, it was when it was stolen at the end of November, from Harefield Marina on the Grand Union. The theft appears to have been at night. The boat had no batteries at the time, leading to David's comment.

Sea Otters are, of course, made from aluminium - giving them a distinct appearance - and have an easily identifiable hull shape, with a rounded-off square stern.

If you see it, call PC Clayton at Hillingdon Police on 020 8246 1867; Phil Musk at Harefield Marina on 01895 822036; or David himself on 07980 013159. Boaters have an excellent record in tracking down stolen boats, as the theft of Holly from Middlewich Narrowboats this spring demonstrated - let's not let this one get away.

Update: The boat has now been found - apparently just two miles from the marina, with blue paint all over it and the towpath.

Richard Fairhurst  | 10.31am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Public can get involved in canal plan northamptonchron.co.uk

    Designers of the new Daventry canal are one step closer to drawing up plans for the Waterspace project after opening a public consultation register. ...

  • Canal protected from developers hackneygazette.co.uk

    The council has given the go-ahead to make Hackney's stretch of the Regent's Canal a conservation area to control development along its sides. ...

Thursday 13 December

Today's news from the web

  • Baggies barge to sail again expressandstar.com

    A match day barge service to take Baggies fans to The Hawthorns will be running again this Saturday – with all the seats snapped up by fans within nine hours. ...

  • Sustrans win means new route on L&L liverpooldailypost.co.uk

    The Liverpool scheme starts in Everton Park and then follows the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, and in the long term will continue to Stanley Dock and the quayside. ...

  • Have your say as town canal plans are drawn up daventrytoday.co.uk

    Residents are to be given a voice as plans are drawn up for a £13.5 million canal link into the centre of Daventry. ...

Wednesday 12 December

A big news day

Three major waterway news stories have broken in a single day.

Last night, Oxford City Council's planning committee decided to refuse permission for a housing development at the Castlemill Boatyard

British Waterways' decision to sell the site for redevelopment, halting its previous use as a boatyard, aroused much local opposition. Following a dramatic eviction last May (pictured), the site had been boarded up pending plans by developers Spring Residential - which have now been refused. The campaigners are jubilant, but Spring have not yet commented.

Big names including author Philip Pullman joined the campaign, comparing the housing plans to "finding a bird's nest and throwing a brick into it". At the committee meeting, the complainants objected to the lack of a boatyard, the shortage of affordable housing, and the appearance of the planned buildings.

Meanwhile, in the House of Commons, MPs were discussing waterway funding in a debate secured by Lichfield MP (and narrowboater) Michael Fabricant. You can read the transcript here.

Waterway Minister Jonathan Shaw refused to agree with Mr Fabricant's description of previous Minister Barry Gardiner as "a nincompoop", and implied that DEFRA would continue as the department responsible for British Waterways; but on future grant, he said "I am hopeful that the budget for BW will be broadly around flat cash for a three-year period".

Flat cash is Government-speak for "no rise, even inflation", making this not the worst that could be achieved though by no means the best. The IWA has already responded, with Chairman John Fletcher saying "I was pleased that the minister was able to confirm that he did not expect alleged further cuts to Defra’s budget to have a deteriorative effect on  navigation authorities".

Finally, the much-awaited result was announced for the Big Lottery Fund's People's 50 Million contest (also known as Living Landmarks) - and the good news is that a waterway-related project is to scoop the cash.

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, has won £50m for its Connect2 project. This comprises 79 schemes, including several new bridges over waterways and towpath improvements: a replacement for Riversdale Swingbridge on the Weaver, removing the first blockage on the Melton Mowbray Navigation, a new bridge at Diglis Lock in Worcester, towpath improvements on the Bridgewater, and several more. The decision was made by a TV-sponsored vote - and of the four projects competing, the Sustrans scheme won 42% of the vote.

The decision is a disappointment for the Black Country Urban Park, whose bid also promised great things for their local canals; and for the two other contenders, Sherwood Forest and the Eden Project. But there'll be some very happy faces in Northwich, Melton Mowbray, and elsewhere tonight!

Richard Fairhurst  | 3.11pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Campaigners Celebrate Lottery Handout thisischeshire.co.uk

    Residents in Northwich were celebrating an early Christmas present today after hearing that Riversdale Bridge (River Weaver) will be rebuilt. It has been out of action since 2001. The bridge project was part of the Sustrans Connect2 bid which won vote to decide who would win a £50million Big Lottery Fund handout. ...

  • Prediction - Connect2 'has won' Lottery Cash bikeradar.com

    The result of the Big Lottery Fund’s £50 Million Lottery Giveaway is announced today but early indications are that Sustrans’ Connect2 scheme – the only national project out of the four contenders – has won. ...

  • Oxford plans rejected by council news.bbc.co.uk

    Controversial plans to build 50 luxury flats on an historic boatyard in Oxford have been rejected by councillors. Campaigners have opposed the redevelopment of the 160-year-old site at Castle Mill, in Jericho. ...

  • Dearne & Dove cleanup promised southyorkshiretimes.co.uk

    Campaigners planning to restore a dilapidated canal are hoping for a bright future following positive showdown talks with waterways bosses. ...

  • Applause As Boatyard Homes Plan Is Rejected oxfordmail.net

    Councillors won a standing ovation tonight when they threw out plans to build flats on the site of an historic Oxford boatyard. ...

  • Experts wade in to re-house 100,000 waterway fish waterscape.com

    Specialist teams are working to remove fish from 16 miles of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, enabling full inspections on the breached waterway to be completed. ...

Tuesday 11 December

Today's news from the web

Monday 10 December

Today's news from the web

Sunday 9 December

Today's news from the web

  • Protecting rare waterways plants waterscape.com

    British Waterways has agreed on a series of actions to promote the protection of the rare freshwater submerged plants, Grasswrack Pondweed and Floating Water Plantain. ...

Saturday 8 December

Today's news from the web

  • Boatyard Scheme Set To Be Refused oxfordtimes.net

    British Waterways' bitterly-opposed waterside development in the heart of Jericho looks set to be rejected. Council officers are recommending that the scheme is rejected when it goes before the central, south and west area committee on Tuesday. ...

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