10 August 2006
The planning application for the first yearís work to restore the Cotswold Canals has been submitted by the Cotswold Canals Partnership to Stroud District Council and is available for everyone to view.
The application focuses on the restoration of 650 metres of the Stroudwater Navigation from Ryeford Locks to the east of Bridge Road in Ebley. The work will include soil and refuse excavation, dredging, access and habitat enhancement and a new bridge at Oilmills. Since being closed in 1954, the canal has deteriorated with certain sections silted up and overgrown, others filled with domestic refuse and the old bridge partially demolished.
The plans represents the first phase of activity of the projectís main goal to restore the historic waterways of the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames and Severn Canal. Ultimately the project aims to create a vibrant waterway benefiting local residents, businesses, boaters, and attracting new visitors to the area.
The development of the designs for the restoration of the bridge at Oilmills has been guided by conservation and wide public consultation. Environment, heritage, landscape and access appraisals have been carried out. .These designs have been examined by heritage consultation group consisting of Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council, Cotswold Canal Trust, English Heritage, Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology and British Waterways. The local community and various interest groups, such as Stroud Access Forum, were also consulted and, where appropriate, their comments and recommendations have been built into the application.
Environmental considerations were identified through consultation with conservation groups, such as Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and existing habitats and species will be protected and enhanced. For example bat roost bricks will be built into the bridge, reeds removed for the construction will be stored and replanted and the banks will be designed to provide an ideal habitat for native crayfish.
The planning application is available to view at Stroud District Council offices and online at the planning section of the Councilís website (www.stroud.gov.uk) The application is likely to be determined by the Council on 10 October 2006 . Copies have also been sent out to interested groups and stakeholders for further comment. A display of these works can also be seen at the Museum in the Park, Stroud until 28 August.