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Tuesday 10 January

Thames toll bridge work postponed

Repairs to the private Whitchurch toll bridge near Pangbourne have been postponed for a year. The £3.8million project was originally scheduled to start later this year, but it has now been delayed until the autumn of next year and will not be completed until April 2014. 

The Whitchurch Bridge Company blamed objections by English Heritage and the need to keep the bridge open to navigation for the whole summer season. 

The company submitted applications to South Oxfordshire District Council and West Berkshire Council in May but only obtained permission in December.

A spokesman for the bridge company said: "The Environment Agency has told us it wants the bridge open to boat traffic for the whole of the summer this year. We are also disappointed with the response from English Heritage, which we don’t think has properly understood the engineering evidence about the condition of the bridge."

The company says it will inspect the 100 year old bridge frequently in the meantime, and describes it as “in poor condition structurally”. 

Andrew Denny  | 5.27pm | add a comment


Monday 9 January

Rolle Canal benefits from £40,000 lottery money

The historic Rolle Canal will be one of three areas to benefit from a £40,000 Heritage Lottery Grant on North Devon's scenic Tarka Trail.

The grant will enable work to highlight the cultural heritage of Fremington Quay, Home Farm Marsh and the remains of the Rolle Canal.  A viewing platform will be built between Land Cross and Torrington to help tell the story of the Rolle Canal before the railway. Users will be able to see the sea-lock of the canal at Landcross, and a walking path will be constructed at Furzebeam.

Andrew Denny  | 5.03pm | add a comment


Minister calls for more money for Caledonian Canal crossing

UK Treasury minister Danny Alexander has called on the Scottish government to ensure that the proposed crossing of the Caledonian Canal by the new Inverness bypass is properly funded, so that it does not affect navigation. 

Alexander, as the local MP, said that enough money should be found so that the 'best option' could be chosen for boaters as well as road users.

Highland Council is currently consulting on eight possible solutions for a crossing. They include building a second swing bridge over the canal close to the existing swing bridge at Tomnahurich, which causes long road tailbacks at peak times whenever a boat passes through. The second swing bridge would allow traffic to continue to flow, but present an extra barrier to boaters. 

After this, and other cheaper options, were criticised the council suggested either a high-level bridge spanning both the canal and the River Ness, or and an aqueduct and tunnel. Both options would be much more expensive but less obstructive to boats. However, the council said they are unaffordable. 

Andrew Denny  | 12.29pm | add a comment


Shobnall Boat Services ceases trading

We learned this morning that Shobnall Boat Services, the chandlery based in WW's home town of Burton-on-Trent, has ceased trading.

Owner Andy Garside said: "We have fallen victim to this terrible recession and have seen a marked down-turn in business over the last two years, coupled with increased competition. We were fortunately only 1 - 2 days away from completing work on a repaint of the only boat we had in our workshop at the time, and through the tremendous support of our staff (now unpaid) and a tremendously generous offer from Robert Neff at Mercia Marina of the use of his dry dock for a couple of days, we have been able to completely finish the work to the customer's total satisfaction."

The site is owned by the long-established Jannel Cruisers (01283 540006/07837 546032), who operate the moorings at Shobnall Basin - which are not affected. They hope to be able to reopen the dry-dock, gas and sales in the next few weeks. Shobnall's surveyor Iain Jones is continuing to work on a self-employed basis (07860 119476).

Richard Fairhurst  | 1.40pm | add a comment


Today's news from the web

  • Thames Motor Boat Association's 'Etiquette Guide' tmba.org.uk

    The Thames Motor Boat Association has published its own River Etiquette For Boaters guide. The 15-point single-page guide has a dozen 'DO's' and three 'DON'Ts'. 


    While most of the points will be familiar to non-Thames users, a few are specific to the unique Thames culture, such as 'DO turn of your engine when in locks', and 'DON'T leave large spaces at mooring sites. Be prepared to move to make better use of space when other boats arrive or leave.' 
    ...

  • Stop the whining: Thames hydroelectric generator at Oxford is too noisy oxfordtimes.co.uk

    Neighbours who originally welcomed a green hydro-electricity scheme are now complaining it is driving them round the twist. The residents living near Osney Mill – which is being re-developed to house 10 flats – thought the Archimedes screw was a good idea to generate electricity from the flow of the neighbouring River Thames. But now they say they can’t stand the noise from the hydroelectric generator, which became active just before Christmas....

  • Thames Heritage Tapestry unveiled at Ashmolean Museum bbc.co.uk

    The first glimpse of a giant tapestry made by children from more than 200 schools along the River Thames has been unveiled at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. A 3m (9.8ft) by 14m (46ft) portion of the artwork was shown in which 84 of the schools have each contributed a 1m (3.3ft) square canvas. The Thames Heritage Tapestry project will be completed in time for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, by which time it will be 84m (275ft) long....

  • Roman 'brothel' coin found in Thames mud at Putney dailymail.co.uk

    An explicit coin used to pay for pleasure has been found in the Thames mud at Putney. The girl would have handed over the token to the brothel keeper — possibly a freed slave, a Roman or an enterprising Briton. Somehow it ended up in the mud of the Thames where, 2,000 years later, it has recently been found by amateur archaeologist Regis Cursan with a metal detector. He has donated it to the Museum of London, where it will now be on display for three months. ...

  • New Chesterfield canal basin is full chesterfieldpost.co.uk

    It's a major milestone for the Canal, with the basin years in the planning, after construction started last March. Throughout the process there have been excited local people standing on bridges admiring the works and now the finished basin is already attracting lots of positive interest from walkers and cyclists as well as canal lovers....

  • Kidderminster paper launches £7,000 Stourport boat appeal kidderminstershuttle.co.uk

    A £7,000 appeal has been launched in Stourport by local news paper the Kidderminster Shuttle to restore historic narrowboat Bramble, based at Stourport Canal Basins. The appeal will finance much-needed mechanical and electrical work, furnish new cloth covers and fenders, repaint the boat and install a new prop shaft. The volunteers also intend to furnish the interior with historical replica items. A Fellows, Morton & Clayton motor dating from 1934, Bramble was donated by British Waterways to local group Stourport Forward, who plan to use it for education and boat trips. ...

  • Work begins on new Thames road bridge at Walton bbc.co.uk

    Work has begun on the first new road bridge over the River Thames in nearly 20 years. The £32m crossing between Walton-on-Thames and Shepperton is expected to be completed in the summer of 2013, and will replace two long-serving temporary bridges. ...


Friday 6 January

Today's news from the web

  • New Oxford Canal marinas get go-ahead cropredymarina.com

    At a meeting on 5th January, Cherwell District Council’s planning committee gave final planning permission for two new marinas on the South Oxford Canal at Cropredy, both to be built on farming land, giving a total of 280 berths. 

    The largest, with 249 berths, will be Cropredy Marina, to be sited north of the village, above Broadmoor Lock. It will not have a boatyard or residential moorings, but will include basic canalside facilities including diesel, pumpout and sanitary station, and a slipway. 

    At the other end of the village, near the BW facilities at Cropredy Wharf, the smaller marina, as yet unnamed, will have only 31 non-residential full-length berths and no facilities for passing boaters. The marina's owner said he was considering holding a competition amongst local children to select a name for it.  

    Local opposition to both marinas was considerable. In particular, the local primary school complained that the smaller marina, being adjacent to the school, would present a “risk of drowning” to the pupils, and that the school’s ‘forest school’ nature lessons would be threatened. 

    In addition, claims were also voiced about the potential extra traffic stressing water supply on the Fenny Compton summit level. However, the planners decided that overall benefits to boaters and the local economy outweighed all objections. 

    Cropredy Marina is being developed by the owners of Crick Marina, who said that the Oxford Canal badly needed more offline moorings. “Presently, there is only one small offline marina on the Oxford Canal in the 44 miles between Oxford and Napton, which is reflected in the large numbers of boats moored along the banks of the canal.” 

    ...


Thursday 5 January

Today's news from the web

  • Cropredy marina plan 'could put children in danger' thisisoxfordshire.co.uk

    Children’s lives could be put at risk if a marina is built next to a primary school, it has been warned. Residents said the plan for a marina for 31 boats and 21 parking spaces at School Lane, Cropredy, posed a “risk of drowning” to Cropredy Primary School pupils....

  • Full steam ahead for Cotswold canal work thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    Canal restoration work has been steaming ahead at half a dozen locations along the Stroud valleys. The ongoing reopening of the waterways between Stonehouse and Brimscombe includes new bridges, locks, flood gates and an overflow weir. The renovation sites are all part of Phase 1A of the major scheme to eventually reopen the long-disused canal link between the rivers Severn and Thames....


Wednesday 4 January

Today's news from the web

  • Oil spillage at Gloucester Docks as fishing boat sinks thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    Oil has been spilled into Gloucester Docks after a fishing boat dramatically sank, dismaying traders and residents. The 46-year-old ship Lucia sank at its mooring in Monk Meadow Dock, causing fears for wildlife after the contents of its engine flowed into the Gloucester Sharpness Canal....

  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct visitor centre gets £125,000 upgrade bbc.co.uk

    Plans to extend a tourism centre for visitors to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct have been approved by Wrexham councillors. Officials want to improve facilities to boost visitors to the towering landmark on Llangollen Canal. A local group says the plan could hit local businesses. But the council says retail will be limited to souvenirs....

  • Roman brothel token discovered in Thames telegraph.co.uk

    A Roman coin that was probably used by soldiers to pay for sex in brothels has been discovered on the banks of the River Thames....


Monday 2 January

Picture of the day: How many BW workers does it take to fix a lock?



In an undated photo from the WW archives, eight (count 'em) BW staff insert stop planks at  Buckby Top Lock, prior to repairs.

Andrew Denny  | 10.32am | 1 comment


Today's news from the web

  • New Year's Eve fireworks display on the Thames ushers in 2012 dailymail.co.uk

    Some astonishingly arresting photos and video this New Year's Eve of fireworks over the Thames. A good selection (including video) on the Daily Mail website. ...

  • Calls to extend Mon & Brec canal to Cwmcarn southwalesargus.co.uk

    With the increasing popularity of the Fourteen Locks Canal visitor centre, calls are being made to extend the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal all the way to Cwmcarn. Since opening three years ago, the visitor centre, at Rogerstone, has welcomed around 150,000 visitors from countries such as Russia, China, New Zealand and Canada. The canal passes through Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Newport county boroughs, but Islwyn MP Chris Evans has now called for the Caerphilly arm to be reopened to the public- a move which would bring much-needed investment and tourism into the area....


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