£2m to restore Brimscombe
STALLED PLANS TO re-create the former interchange port at Brimscombe Port as part of the Cotswold Canals restoration are back on track thanks to a £2m cash injection from the Homes & Communities Agency.
The current £20m-plus Lottery-supported Phase 1a Cotswold restoration project was originally planned to reopen six miles from Stonehouse through Stroud to Brimscombe, however the recession put paid to hopes of money from redevelopment of the Port funding the upper section of the canal.
This meant the scheme was scaled-back to end below Hope Mill Lock, leaving the excavation of the basin and two sections of infilled canal plus a reinstated road crossing, a new aqueduct over the River Frome and a lock restoration until later.
But now, thanks to the £2m funding, this length is to be reinstated after all. It constitutes part of the ‘enabling’ infrastructure works that will allow developers to recognise the value of the Port site for regeneration including up to 150 homes, 1,000sq m of land for employment, ten acres of land reclamation, and a new community building. Canal reinstatement details have yet to be worked out and the full redevelopment will take some years, but work may well begin before the end of 2016.
Cotswold Canals Trust’s Clive Field told CB the news had “come at a marvellous time” for the restoration: hot on the heels of a Living Waterways Award (see below), and just in time before the imminent submission of a major bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the ‘missing link’ Saul to Stonehouse length.