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Council look for cash to finish canal revamp

New funding needed to complete Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal as price of work increases

Published on August 17th 2010.


Council look for cash to finish canal revamp

Councils in Salford, Bury and Bolton will try and find extra cash to restore the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal that runs through the three boroughs.

Given the extreme long-term nature of these plans – 2035 and still it won’t be wholly renovated – you have wonder whether the project is worth the trouble. There are pleasant parts to the route down the Irwell Valley, especially around Clifton Country Park, but always the problem with the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal (MBBC) is that it was and is a dead-end.

The canal has been part-restored in partnership with British Waterways, from the River Irwell, opposite Granada in the city centre, at Hampson Street, through to Middlewood in Salford, funded by grants from the European Regional Development Fund, the North West Development Agency and the city council, with contributions in kind from Valley and Vale Properties Ltd, which owned the site.

That work cost £5.4m, of which Salford City Council contributed £1.3m, to be recouped from future Section 106 funds received from the adjoining site.

The councils want to develop the remaining stretch over the next 25 years in three phases. The first will see 885 metres between Oldfield Road and Windsor Bridge redeveloped at an estimated cost of £19.8m, which will include opening up a new route. This should be done by 2027.

The next milestone is 2030, when the councils want to refurbish 2.7km to Park House Bridge, at a cost of £11.2m; then by 2035, they hope to renew a 3.3km stretch to the Clifton aqueduct at a cost of £3m.

A report due before Salford City Council’s planning committee today said that the estimated cost of restoration in Salford had increased from a predicted £19.5 in 2002 to £27.5m. Restoration of the remainder of the canal in Bolton and Bury would cost an additional £38.51m.

“The first stage of restoration was completed in 2008. Whilst the restoration of the first length of the canal at Middlewood was a significant achievement, the next stages will require significant funding and commitment,” it said.

“It is suggested that the Joint Steering Committee be requested to produce a prospectus for the restoration of the whole canal, setting out the aims and benefits and forming the basis for obtaining funding.

“It would also refocus the partners in the Steering Committee and could form the basis for consultation and incorporating restoration into regeneration plans along the length of the canal.”

Given the extreme long-term nature of these plans – 2035 and still it won’t be wholly renovated – you have wonder whether the project is worth the trouble. There are pleasant parts to the route down the Irwell Valley, especially around Clifton Country Park, but always the problem with the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal (MBBC) is that it was and is a dead-end. Unlike the Rochdale Canal, the Bridgewater Canal, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Ashton Canal there are no other connections with the MBBC, it simply goes to Bury with a branch to Bolton and then stops.

Unless of course, part of the endgame of the plan is to build more apartments and houses along the banks complete with the marketable attraction of a waterside location.

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