Pennine Waterways News

Friday 12 December 2008

Ashton Canal finally re-opens

The Ashton Canal has finally re-opened to through navigation after being closed following damage to the gate of Lock 17.

The canal was closed on 15th October after damage to the gate caused its operation to be considered dangerous. British Waterways staff investigated whether it could be quickly repaired but found that a new gate was required. A new gate was ordered to be manufactured as soon as possible.

British Waterways issued a stoppage notice warning that the canal was likely to remain closed for at least a week. However the stoppage was extended several times due to various delays.

On Nov 14th BW announced that the replacement gate has been manufactured and delivered to the local depot. Work to install the gate was to start the following week with the canal expected to re-open on 28th November. However, on 28th November, BW announced that work had been delayed "due to unforseen circumstances" and that the canal should be re-opened by 10th December. Following a further delay the canal was finally re-opened on 12 December.

The stoppage affected boaters doing the Cheshire Ring and the South Pennine Ring. It caused potential difficulties for boaters attempting to reach places before the winter stoppage programme began on 3rd November. Some concern has been expressed about the length of time taken to complete this repair on the Ashton Canal compared with the speedy repairs that are carried out on more popular canals further south.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Prince Charles visits Sowerby Bridge Canal Wharf

In late November, Prince Charles visited Sowerby Bridge Wharf to see for himself the extensive conservation and regeneration of the area.

The project to regenerate the wharf area was established by his charity, The Prince's Regeneration Trust, in 1996, at a time when the wharf was in a state of decline and the warehouses facing dereliction.

The project conserved and restored a unique collection of historic canal buildings, benefiting and supporting existing businesses at the wharf, attracting new businesses to the area and bringing visitors to this historically important site. The wharf with its warehouses is situated at the junction of the Calder and Hebble Navigation with the Rochdale Canal.

The focus of the project was the regeneration of the Grade II listed Salt Warehouse and the Grade II* listed No. 4 Warehouse, which in turn attracted further development.

Robin Evans of BW shows Prince Charles around Sowerby Bridge Canal Wharf. Photo: BW

The Prince toured the warehouses and met those running businesses there. He saw the wet dock and named a newly-built canal boat. He spoke to local Sea Scouts who had initially saved the Salt Warehouse from collapse by renovating part of the structure and erecting a temporary roof, before the start of the regeneration project.

Stephen Baines of Calderdale Council said: "The Council has worked for many years to achieve the regeneration of the canal basin area and is very grateful to The Prince for the commitment and support of his Regeneration Trust. This major transformation has been the result of close working with the local community."

Maddy Jago of English Heritage, which provided design and conservation advice, said: "The conservation of the canal warehouses has extended regeneration to the wharf and it is wonderful to see them once again being used and enjoyed by the local community."