Cash support for Cotswold link-up
HOT on the heels of a £3m pledge from Stroud District Council (see CB, May) comes the announcement of two more major commitments to putting the Cotswold Canals back on the national network: £700,000 from Gloucestershire County Council followed by £ 625,000 from the Canal & River Trust.
Support from the two local authority grants has always been a key part of the funding package being assembled by the Cotswold Canals Trust for Phase 1a of the restoration from Stonehouse to Saul. However CRT’s contribution represents its first financial commitment to the restoration project since its predecessor British Waterways pulled out of the partnership for the previous phase in 2008.
That work, which involved six miles of the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal from Stonehouse via Stroud to Brimscombe is now nearing completion after SDC took over the leadership. The current aim is to open a further four miles to link it up to the national network at Saul Junction – and the three pledges make up a large part of the ‘match funding’ for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. This was first submitted in 2015 but turned down so all these commitments improve the prospects for a second bid, due to be submitted this autumn.
If successful, the whole ten-mile length could be open and connected to the network in around five years, marking a major step towards the eventual reopening right through to the Thames at Inglesham.