£ 3m Cotswold restora­tion boost

COTSWOLD CANALS

Canal Boat - - News -

THE COTSWOLD CANALS Trust’s £19m plan to re-con­nect the canal to the na­tional net­work has come a step closer to re­al­ity with the an­nounce­ment of £3m of fund­ing from Stroud Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Fol­low­ing the restora­tion (cur­rently near­ing com­ple­tion) of the land-locked six miles from Stone­house via Stroud to near Brim­scombe Port (known as Phase 1a), the Trust is bid­ding for funds to re­open the con­nect­ing Phase 1b length from Stone­house to Saul Junc­tion where it joins the Glouces­ter & Sharp­ness Canal.

Fol­low­ing an un­suc­cess­ful bid in 2015 for a £15m Her­itage Lottery Fund grant, a re­sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tion is planned for this au­tumn. How­ever the Lottery money is de­pen­dent on a pro­por­tion of ‘match­ing fund­ing’ from other bodies, and it was partly the lack of con­firmed match­ing fund­ing which sank the first bid. Get­ting the Coun­cil’s con­tri­bu­tion agreed this far in ad­vance is there­fore a ma­jor boost to the bid’s chances of suc­cess.

An­other step for­ward would be to deal with any un­cer­tain­ties about how the canal will be re­opened – in par­tic­u­lar, re­in­stat­ing the ‘miss­ing mile’ be­tween East­ing­ton and the A38 main road. Much of this is owned by com­pany Ecotric­ity, which has plans for a sports sta­dium and busi­ness park.

CCT Chair­man Jim White said the Trust would sup­port the plans if they brought about the restora­tion of this sec­tion: “It would make sense for the canal restora­tion and any de­vel­op­ment to hap­pen at the same time and we hope to work closely with Ecotric­ity on this.”

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