Marple work under way
PEAK FOREST CANAL
WITH Marple Locks part way through what has now turned into a six and a half month closure for emergency repairs to a chamber wall at Lock 15, the Canal & River Trust is taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out a programme of works also covering other locks on the flight of 16 – with much of the £2.5m cost being found from the People’s Postcode Lottery’s contribution to CRT.
Lockside subsidence spotted in early September led to a closure of the lock, where investigation revealed that the stone-built chamber wall on the towpath side had moved, making the lock too narrow to operate safely. With a complete rebuild needed, the closure was extended to mid-March and CRT began planning the work. Following an archaeological survey, the wall is to be dismantled, the ground stabilised, a buried concrete retaining wall installed, and the original stonework then rebuilt. By late January, although “great progress” on site was reported, having reviewed the “very complex” work needed in a confined site, the Trust put back the opening date by another fortnight.
Meanwhile new gates are being installed at Locks 1 and 13, minor works carried out on the canal and towpath at various places on the flight, and the new offside railings installed on Marple Aqueduct. Following controversy regarding this addition to a historic structure, CRT is using what it describes as a “bespoke solution” following discussions with Historic England, which will see a ‘cotton weave’ form of railings “designed to form a sympathetic and lasting addition to the structure”.
The target reopening date is now 29 March, just in time for Easter.