Multi-million pound plan to restore vital canal link
Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet is being asked to approve plans to restore a ‘missing mile’ of the county’s canal network.
Two highway bridges and a towpath would be built by the A38/A419 at Whitminster, enabling a section of the canal that has been missing for half a century to be reopened.
The canal at this location was originally crossed by the Bristol Road (now A38) on a stone arched bridge. The lock and the bridge were both destroyed at the time the A419 link road and the M5 were built in 1969. That left a distance of about a mile missing from the canal from the point where it approaches the A38 Whitminster roundabout.
A report going to cabinet says the works will help reconnect the canal from Saul Junction to Stonehouse and provide new safe and segregated walking and cycling routes, as well as environmental improvements.
The Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) has been leading calls to restore the network and Highways England announced in May it would be providing £4million towards the cost of the project.
The county council’s cabinet is now being asked at a meeting on 24 July to authorise the works and manage the project, while working with the CCT and Stroud District Council.
Design work is well underway and contractors will be invited to submit tenders in the near future, with the aim of work being completed next year. Further engagement events will take place before work begins so local residents and businesses can find out more about the project.
Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: “This is an excellent project that will see the ‘missing mile’ of the canal network restored. It will provide a new walking and cycling route, attracting more visitors to the area which will boost the economy, and I’m pleased to see this is set to go ahead.”
Cllr Stephen Davies, local county councillor for Hardwicke and Severn, said: “As well as a restored canal, this project will have a positive impact on the area. It will improve more than 30 hectares of wildlife habitats and leave a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy for years to come. I’m sure this will be widely welcomed and I look forward to seeing the project take shape.”
The full cabinet report is available here.