Pennine Waterways News

Monday, 11 February 2008

Historic Wharf could be lost

A remote wharf on the Macclesfield Canal is at risk of being stanked off, drained and returned to nature.

Vaudrey's Wharf is a short arm off the Macclesfield Canal near Bridge 72, east of Conlgleton.

Photo: Tim Boddington
It was built in 1835 to serve Charles Vaudrey's Bath Vale mills. When the North Stafforshire Railway opened a line in 1860, passing under the canal nearby, the wharf became used as an interchange.

When the railway closed the track and the wharf passed into the ownership of Congleton Council. There have been long-term leaks from the arm through the embankment of the railway cutting but the council has not felt able to fund the repairs.

The leak is now more serious and, apart from being an unacceptable loss of water, there is also a potential risk of a breach on this nine-mile pound, threatening property in Congleton.

The canal arm is unusual in belonging to the council rather than British Waterways. BW was unwilling to take on the liability for the repairs. An agreement was being drawn up whereby the council would pay for the repairs and then BW would take over ownership.

BW was then forced to withdraw from the proposed agreement because funding cuts had left them without the necessary money.

Because the leak is a continuing threat to the Macclesfield Canal, BW is considering stanking off the arm at its own expense.

The result of this could be that the arm and wharf becomes overgrown making any future repais and restoration much more expensive, so the wharf could be lost for ever.

Follow this link for full details of the problem and possible solutions.

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