Strate­gic restora­tions

Canal Boat - - Letters - AN­DREW COPE, via email

I WAS IN­TER­ESTED in Kevin Blick’s in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cle “Yes, but is there enough money to go around” ( CB, Jan) – it’s a very good and valid ques­tion. Cer­tainly canal restora­tion is a ‘long haul’ and of­ten there is scant re­gard to on­go­ing main­te­nance of a re­stored canal.

It makes me think that, if some of th­ese schemes are to ever come to fruition in the next couple of gen­er­a­tions, a more strate­gic ap­proach to restora­tion may be re­quired. Surely, if re­source was con­cen­trated on key schemes there would be some ben­e­fit to the whole. By key schemes I mean those that join more than one wa­ter­way to an­other. (Cotswold, Lich­field and Hather­ton, Mil­ton Keynes link and higher Avon link spring to mind.) Any one of th­ese schemes would sig­nif­i­cantly boost the abil­ity to at­tract boats to lesser used parts of the net­work as well as en­hanc­ing the use of the sys­tem for non-boat­ing leisure use.

Of course, we all have our favourite bits of canal and, cer­tainly, some of my favourite bits of derelict canal could not be con­sid­ered strate­gic. So we would need to ac­cept that a more strate­gic ap­proach would mean some of our own per­sonal favourites go right out in timescale, but, noth­ing breeds suc­cess like suc­cess and the restora­tion of some key routes may lead to lesser schemes be­ing picked up in the slip­stream of re-open­ings.

Who would de­cide on restora­tion pri­or­ity? It would be dif­fi­cult to get con­sen­sus but I can only think that the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion would be best placed.

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