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Monday 21 May

Plans for 250 homes canalside near Fradley

Housing development firm Wilson Bowden Developments have announced plans for up to 250 homes lining the Coventry Canal at Fradley. The proposed 55-acre development, on farmland off Hay End Lane and currently occupied by a pig farm, is likely to meet opposition from councillors concerned about congestion on the nearby A38 road. However, there appears to be no objection from British Waterways. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.56am | add a comment

Canal & River Trust launch gets contingency dates – 28th June and 12th July

As official parliamentary approval of the new Canal & River Trust get closer, British Waterways officials have set ‘contingency dates’ for the official launch events.  

The current plan is for an official nationwide launch of the Trust on 28th June. However, after talking to Defra about the necessary parliamentary process timescales, word has gone out to staff to prepare for a possible launch date of 12th July. 

“We’re waiting for the government to confirm the dates for the final parliamentary debates of its official Transfer Order,” a spokesman said, in a statement published in the staff newspaper BW Monthly. “But the debates might not take place until the middle of June. This would mean a launch on 28th June would be very tight. So, for now, please keep both afternoons – 28th June and 12th July – free in your diaries.”

More than 30 BW staff attended a recent workshop to come up with ideas for celebrating the launch, at 11 locations around the country. They discussed what BW Monthly called “a guide format that will hopefully achieve the right balance of feeling part of a big company-wide celebration while allowing local flavour – and most important of all, making sure we have fun at this momentous time in the waterways’ history.”

Andrew Denny  | 11.27am | add a comment

Every little helps, as Tesco agrees to pay for Stalybridge canal trolley recovery

The local Tesco store alongside the Huddersfield Canal in Stalybridge has agreed to meet the costs of fishing its trolleys out of the canal at Stalybridge.

In a deal brokered by local Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, British Waterways have agreed to make regular visits to the stretch of the canal to keep it clear of trolleys and other debris – with the clean-up costs being met by the supermarket chain.

British Waterways says that in the past three years more than 200 trolleys have been retrieved from this stretch of the canal, taking its resources away from other projects. Even the automatic wheel locks fitted to the trolleys if they are pushed over a line has failed to solve the problem.

The canal channel through Stalybridge, built in the 1990s, has a hard concrete bottom, and it is thought that trolleys are causing greater navigational problems than normal here, because they cannot be pushed into silt or mud, but present a greater barrier to boats. 

BW's David Baldacchino said: "We have been working closely with Tesco to try and reach a solution to this on-going problem which is spoiling the environment and causing damage to boats. I am pleased that we have agreed to carry out regular clean-ups with the help of Tesco.

"The new Canal & River Trust will be calling on the help and support of the local community in Stalybridge to get involved with their local waterway by volunteering and helping care for their canal."

Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, welcomed the agreement, saying: "I have been talking to Tesco and British Waterways about this issue for a number of weeks and I am delighted that they are now taking such an active role to clear up the canal. 

"Supermarkets are clearly not responsible for the anti-social behaviour of those who think it is acceptable to dump litter and trolleys in this way. But the canalside location of this particular store makes it a particular problem in Stalybridge, so I am pleased that British Waterways and Tesco are taking this proactive approach."

Anna Wisnoiwski, manager of Tesco Stalybridge, insisted that they worked hard to ensure the trolleys were collected and secured every night. “We are always looking for new ways to prevent trolleys being stolen and we're grateful to customers who make us aware of abandoned trolleys, as it enables us to collect them quickly."

Andrew Denny  | 10.51am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Local families protest over new Stroud canal slipway thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    People living in and around Strachans Close, Stroud, beside the restored Stroudwater Navigation, have strongly opposed the plan for the slipway off their street. The householders, and more in nearby Chestnut Lane, argued that to mix their children playing in the street with 4x4s pulling boats on trailers was unsafe. They also complained about existing traffic congestion due to the closeness of two large and busy secondary schools, and industrial units. Despite around 50 letters from the public, mostly protesting about the scheme, the slipway for the Stroud Valleys Canals Company has just gained permission. The consent was granted by planning officials at Stroud District Council who used their delegated powers to allow it. But because the council is also leading the Cotswold Canals Project to restore waterways some residents felt their opposition was overlooked....

  • Luxury flat owners’ horror as Regents Canal boats moor up outside their homes hackneygazette.co.uk

    Officers from Hackney Council are investigating a breach in planning, after a dozen houseboats suddenly moored up outside a block of luxury flats in the Kingsland Basin. The barges owned by the Canals in Hackney User Group (CHUG) have been at the west side of the basin just off the Regent’s Canal since 1983. So property owners in the former spice factory Quebec Wharf were horrified to look out of their windows one day and find they had turned up unannounced, along with their floating allotment....

Thursday 17 May

Cotswold Canals team ‘not downhearted’ after Lottery bid rejection

The Heritage Lottery Fund this week rejected the Cotswold Canals bid for £13.6m to restore the Stroudwater canal link between Stonehouse and Saul Junction. However, leaders of the restoration say the plan is still very much alive, and they hope to continue work on the plans and submit a new bid next year. 

 “We always knew that, this being Olympics year, demands for funding would outstrip the budget available, resulting in many good bids around the country being turned down.” said Ian Edwards, Canal Project Manager at Stroud District Council. 

“However, the HLF Committee recognised the significant national heritage value of our canals and we will work closely with the Heritage Lottery Fund to submit an even stronger application in 12 months’ time. Our focus remains the delivery of Phase 1a of the regeneration project from Saul to Brimscombe Port and releasing the economic potential of the canal corridor.”

Ken Burgin, chief executive of the Cotswold Canals Trust, said he realised the HLF might want to see the progress on the existing six-mile Phase 1a restoration before they committed further funds.  “This is such an important waterways project both locally and nationally that we are confident of a positive outcome in due course. I am sure we can build on success and win funding for the vital Phase 1b Stonehouse to Saul link.”

The Stroudwater Canal on the Phase 1b section, restored with the help of Lottery money from the first award in 2007. The Cotswold Canal Partnership says it is confident that a repeated bid for funds can complete the link through to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal at Saul Junction, making Brimscombe Port a true port again. 

Andrew Denny  | 10.53am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Final details announced of Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org

    The organisers of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant have today released the final details of the 1,000-boat tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year reign. The largest public event of the Diamond Jubilee weekend and potentially the largest live public event ever held in London, the Pageant will take place on Sunday 3rd June on the river from above Battersea to below Tower Bridge. The flotilla itself will be over seven miles long and – including mustering, dispersal and the avenue of sail – will include some 25 miles of Thames river bank. The flotilla will pass under all 13 Central London river crossings, from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, and will take at least 75 minutes to pass any given point....

  • New canal restoration at heart of Stroud Town Council's annual awards thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    The restored Stroudwater canal and all the people involved with it were the stars of the Stroud Town Council Annual Awards on 10th May. Wendy Townsend from the LockKeeper's Cafe was named Trader of the Year. In one of his final duties as Stroud's mayor, Coun John Marjoram praised her for taking the risk of opening the cafe next to a then derelict canal. "The cafe has been crucial in starting to establish Wallbridge and the canalside as a pleasant place to spend time," he said. "It has become a massive asset to Stroud." The Canal Trust Volunteer Team was named Environmental Champion in both the 25+ and under-25 categories. "Our work is about education as well as restoration and we have so many groups and organisations supporting us," said Paul Weller, Stroud District Council's volunteer assistant for the canal project. Stroud Civic Society also chose Stroud Brewery Bridge for the Design Award, praising everyone involved in the project....

  • Droitwich Canals project wins Institute of Civil Engineers 2012 Awards birminghampost.net

    The project which brought the Droitwich canals back into productive use after a 40-year effort by campaigners was the big winner at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) West Midlands awards in The awards – which celebrate the best in civil engineering projects across the West Midlands – were attended by more than 300 engineering professionals. In addition to a Conservation award, the Droitwich project was also viewed by the judges to be the best overall scheme. ...

  • IWA Trailboat Festival site makes progress wilderness.org.uk

    During a visit to Stroud on Monday 14th May, IWA , WBOC, Sea Otter representatives and others had an opportunity to see the work going on on the stretch of canal that will be used for the Jubilee Weekend Stroud on Water celebrations that includes the IWA’s National Trailboat Festival. The site itself is on the playing field of a local school and is a very pleasant location. Considering the amount of rain that the area has had in recent weeks, (along with the rest of us), the ground was well drained, almost dry and solid ...

  • Paddling the Erie Canal, 15 miles a day huffingtonpost.com

    The New York State Spare Seat Kayak Expedition has created a challenging adventure to kayak from the original Erie Canal Commercial Slip in Buffalo, close to Niagara Falls, more than 500 miles to the Statue of Liberty, New York City. The plan is to kayak along the Erie Canal to Albany and then join the Hudson River and paddle down to New York in just 21 days. The Spare Seat is the brainchild of two adventurers, myself, Richard Harpham from Great Britain, and Glenn Charles from United States. ...

  • Tests start on cable car Thames crossing eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk

    The first tests started this week on the cable car network that will link the Greenwich peninsula with the Royal Docks across the River Thames. The 34 cabins making up the 'Emirates Air Line' travelled 90 metres across the river along 1.1km of cable from the south terminal. No passengers were on board but weights were loaded into the cars to simulate the maximum number of people. This is part of a series of rigorous safety trials and follows last month’s completion of the three towers with cabling extended across the river. Due to open in time for this summer’s Olympic Games, the cable car will allow pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists to cross the River Thames within five minutes. It is hoped the crossing will encourage regeneration in the area and provide access to visitor attractions....

  • Queen of the canals: Monarch takes a barge into Burnley on her Diamond Jubilee tour dailymail.co.uk

    The Queen's Jubilee tour floated into the North West as the monarch, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles arrived in Burnley on the Liverpool community barge Pride of Sefton. A day after they were mobbed by adoring crowds in South London, the royal party seemed to enjoy the change of pace as their vessel slowly chugged through the town centre. Prince Charles had a special reason to join his parents on the Burnley leg of the Diamond Jubilee tour - no less than six of his charities have worked on regenerating the town. The visit marked the start of the Prince's Charities Regeneration Summit at the heart of the planned multimillion-pound regeneration plans for the town's Weavers' Triangle which Charles believes has huge potential and could be 'the real making of the town.' It is hoped the £100 million development for leisure, office and educational uses could create 1,000 private sector jobs after the local council acquired the historic listed buildings along the canal and saved them from falling into permanent disrepair. Work could start within weeks on the building of a university technology college in a mill on the site with the first students beginning classes in August 2013....

  • Queen visits Burnley's Weaver's Triangle on Diamond Jubilee tour telegraph.co.uk

    The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were visiting Burnley in East Lancashire as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour to celebrate 60 years on the throne. Together with Prince Charles they met young people and organisations which have worked with The Prince's Charities in Burnley. After embarking on the Liverpool community barge 'Pride of Sefton' along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, they attended the Prince's Charities' Regeneration Summit in the historic Weavers' Triangle area which was previously home to Burnley's textiles industry. The Queen spoke of her "great pride" at the work that Prince Charles is doing to help regenerate the town....

Tuesday 15 May

New Coventry Canal marina opening delayed until next year

Pridewater Marinas has delayed opening its new 80-berth Kings Orchard Marina, near Lichfield, until next year. 

The company had hoped to open for business this August, and says the delay is due to negotiations with other local landowners and utility companies over the connection of vital services, including electricity and drainage.

Ironically, only a month or so ago the company was warning that the main threat to its scheduled summer 2012 opening, might be the unfolding drought which would prevent them filling the marina basin. Understandably, that is now not a problem!

Pridewater already operates two other marinas successfully – Fazeley Mill near Tamworth and Grove Lock on the Grand Union near Leighton Buzzard.  Managing director Terry Lane said he had apologised to the 50 prospective moorers on its ‘priority waiting list’ and that he expected some of them to be upset because of the delay. “There’s a huge pent-up demand for moorings in the area and we are as upset as anyone else”, he said. 

“In order to ensure that we do not again make a promise we cannot keep we have decided to give ourselves ample time to resolve outstanding issues and fully complete the marina, meaning it is now likely to be early spring next year before we can arrange our open days with a new target opening date of 1st May 2013.”

He added that prospective moorers now on the waiting list would be offered “additional extremely attractive incentives”. These would be announced when the Open Days are eventually held early next year.


Andrew Denny  | 4.02pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • 'Clean-up kayak man' of the River Trent cleanupbritain.org

    Terry Oliver has made it his endeavour to clean up the River Trent, and uses his kayak to get up close and personal with the junk people have thrown into the river....

  • Antarctic scientist's 'floating eco-home' on the River Cam telegraph.co.uk

    When scientist Andrew Rankin got a job with the esteemed British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, his excitement was swiftly followed by dismay when he realised he would struggle to afford a home in one of the most desirable cities in England. With property prices in the centre of the ancient seat of learning way out of his range, Andrew looked to the river Cam: the smooth, dark green waterway that furrows along the college “Backs”, for inspiration. He joined the nearly 100 narrow boat owners who moor along the Cam’s grassy banks, most on the lower river. “I bought a 58ft-long hull 'shell’ for £10,000 and fitted it out myself using reclaimed wood for the internal panelling,” says Andrew, who has lived on the dark green and red Coroskeir — named after a favourite childhood holiday spot in the west of Scotland – for 10 years....

  • Queen's Jubilee canal visit to Burnley burnleycitizen.co.uk

    The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles will travel together on a barge along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal while they are in Burnley. The Royal party will travel from Finsley Gate wharf to Sandygate on the barge, and the public will be able to see them from some places on Finsley Gate Road and at Sandygate. The trip was revealed as Burnley Council offered advice to people keen to see the Royals while they are in town on Wednesday. ... Before the Royal party arrives there will be entertainment in the town centre between 10.35am and 11.35am featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer....

  • Olympics waterbus company defends £95 canal trip charge bbc.co.uk

    A canal boat company has defended the amount it is charging to get people to the Olympic Park during the Games. Water Chariots is charging £95 for adults and £50 for children for the journey to the Park from either Tottenham Hale or Limehouse Marina. Founder Peter Coleman said the cost covered security and staff, and provided people with direct entry to the Games without having to queue....

Monday 14 May

Genesis of Cotswold Canals restoration honoured on 40th anniversary

Forty founder members of the Stroudwater Canal Society – the progenitor of the Cotswold Canals Trust – held a special reunion dinner on Saturday 5th May to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the public meeting that led to the founding of the society.  

In May 1972 Michael Ayland organised a meeting in the Subscriptions Rooms in Stroud. This meeting resulted in the birth of the Stroudwater Canal Society, which has now become The Cotswold Canal Trust.

The anniversary dinner was held in the Dockers Club in Sharpness, and original attendees of that first meeting travelled from around the country to greet old friends that in some cases they hadn't seen for over thirty years

A large amount of photographs, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia on display triggered long conversations on those early days, when a group of enthusiasts with no money and no experience of canal restoration set about restoring not only the Stroudwater but the Thames and Severn as well.

Phil Holland, a past chairman of the Society, presented Michael and Beryl Ayland with an engraved fruit bowl, in honour of their role in founding the society. In a speech Michael recalled the events which lead up to that meeting, and reminded the gathering that the multi-million pound restoration work now in progress stems directly from the enthusiasm of the founder members in that first meeting.

Profits raised from the evening will be spent on repairs to the circular weir at Bowbridge, which was an early restoration project but which has since been vandalised

On the Cotswold Canals Trust website Michael Ayland remembers that first meeting well: 

“To put it on to a sound footing we felt we needed a society and we called a public meeting at the Subscription Rooms in May 1972. I booked the George Room which would take fifty people as we thought there would be twenty or so likely to come.

“A couple of days before, we realised it may be more like one hundred so hastily the Subscription Rooms agreed to let us have the ballroom which was just as well as over three hundred people attended the meeting at which the Inland Waterways Association’s John Humphries wooed the assembly with tales of other restoration projects and the Stroudwater Canal Society was born. 

“Within the early months membership grew rapidly, but most of the early joiners had a bigger objective than the Stroudwater Canal – that of the jewel of restoring the Thames and Severn Canal.”

Above: Michael Ayland (centre) is honoured for his role in organising the founding meeting of the Stroudwater Canal Society in May 1972, by Phil Holland, a former chairman of the society. 

Below: 40 guests gathered at the Sharpness Dockers Club on 5th May 1972 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding meeting of the society.

Andrew Denny  | 5.00pm | add a comment

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