ENews 2015-05

June 4th 2015

ENews 2015-05

Hello and welcome, especially to the many new subscribers who have joined the mailing list over the last few months.

No headlines poem this time round, sorry!

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SVCC SEEKS LEGAL ADVICE

And it's not because there's a court case pending……..Chairman Peter Best asks:

Are you a solicitor who could spare an hour or two a month? The Stroud Valleys Canal Company (SVCC) is increasingly becoming more active as the canal gets restored and we have to deal with a range of issues along the route.

We are seeking a volunteer who could assist the SVCC Board to writing letters and enforcing policies affecting a wide variety of issues such as easements, discharge arrangements, trespass and encroachment as well as a host of other issues. Some months there is nothing but then another month may have two or three subjects to deal with.

If you feel you can help please contact me, email peterbest@spslimited.co.uk or phone 07703 200442.

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FLEXIBLE ASSISTANCE

The Trust is looking to recruit a part-time Assistant Administrator where flexibility is required to cover holidays.

The role is based at our Wallbridge, Stroud Office within the Visitor Centre. The successful candidate for the role will have good organisational, communication, administrative and IT skills. Familiarity with SAGE accounting software would be desirable although not essential.

Working 5 hours per day for 3 days per week – times to be agreed – at a rate of £8 per hour, £6,240 p.a.

If you are interested in applying for this role, please e-mail Justine Hopkins, Trust Administrator at mail@cotswoldcanals.com for further information, including a job specification.

You will then be required to send your CV together with a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the role and what you would bring to the Trust for the attention of Trudy Ayre at mail@cotswoldcanals.com.

The closing date is Friday 12th June 2015. Please make clear in your covering letter your availability to start.

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WHAT'S OCCURRING WITH THE RESTORATION

Thanks as ever to David Marshall, Canal Project Manager at Stroud District Council for the following update:

Lodgemore Bridge: The design has now been reviewed by Cotswold Canals Trust and the Stroud Valleys Canal Company, with a couple of sensible changes to be made. The work will be tendered shortly with a single contractor responsible for both the fabrication and installation processes. With the bridge needing to be manufactured first it is expected that installation will take place in September.

Wallbridge Lower Lock: Land & Water Services (LAWS) returned in mid-May in order to clear out the lock and form a bund to keep it dry. Unfortunately, a moorhen had decided to establish a nest – complete with eggs – over the preceding weekend! LAWS will return sometime this month…
Until this happens, it is not possible to determine a way forward for lock restoration, since there is a chance that the offside wall is completely sheared, which would necessitate its being rebuilt.

Bowbridge Bridge: Gloucestershire County Council is making good progress and is rapidly moving forward with getting this contract out to tender. Work is expected to begin in late summer. The original brick built bridge survives here, but two way traffic flow was achieved in the 1960s simply by filling in the canal alongside the bridge and extending the road across. Building a new bridge here will therefore remove a significant obstacle to navigation.

Bowbridge Lock: Brickwork is now complete on both sides of the main chamber. Several coping stones have already been refixed on the off (vet’s) side and others loosely placed in position. Several are missing, so the hunt is on! The remaining stones will be fixed in early July by a visiting work camp from Newbury. Quoin stones are being repaired in preparation for gate installation in the summer.

Cheapside: A new solution is emerging which will entail the main landslip section being lined with eucalyptus wooden piles, around the thickness of a telegraph pole, which have a life expectancy of 70 years. The other would be lined with Nicospan textile matting, which will retain enough material to prevent erosion and add to the weight on the foot of the landslip. A narrow channel would be dredged in between, sufficient to allow navigation, but necessitating dredging in the future. The old Wallbridge Wharf is currently unavailable, which means that it cannot be used as a drying out area or loading point for silt. This proposal would mean that all material can be kept on site.

Ham Mill: Volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust’s Western Depot have virtually finished brickwork on the main chamber. Work at present is focusing on being ready for the installation of the lock gates during week commencing 15th June. The paddle holes have been cleared and are ready to receive the frames, which again have been delivered. At the upper end of the lock the wing walls have been exposed ready for brick and stonework repairs to begin. Gabion baskets will be installed below the bridge in order to retain the slope above, which will be weakened by dredging.

Cotswold Way: An exciting initiative under discussion may result in the Cotswold Way being rerouted on to the canal towpath (also known as the Thames & Severn Way) between Ryeford and Ebley. This would result in towpath footfall increasing by up to 200,000 per year! This development would be contingent on Cotswold Canal Trust (CCT) volunteers installing piles at Ford’s Wharf, Ryeford, and the Ryeford ‘causeway’, where the River Frome and canal run in close proximity.

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LOG COLLECTION SERVICE

Wearing my other hat for a moment, many of you will know that the Trust operates a Log Delivery Service from its two Maintenance Depots at Eastington & Eisey. I thought you may like to know about recent instances where we found ourselves doing things the other way round.

Recently, 3 CCT members each had some mature trees that needed to be professionally felled for a variety of reasons. Completely independently of each other, all three of them very kindly offered some of the felled timber to the Western Depot Logs Division, provided we went and collected it.

And that got me wondering whether there could be other people out there in a similar position, where they have a need to have trees felled for whatever reason, but where the resultant wood is not required for “Personal consumption” as it were.

At this point I should stress that I am not talking about our own Chainsaw Operatives coming along and doing the actual felling – our qualifications restrict us size-wise and none of us is cleared for aerial work. Anyway, we’re all far too old to start climbing trees again!

We know that when most tree surgeons cost a particular job they include clearance of the site in their quote. However from our personal experiences we also know that this element of the overall cost can be significantly reduced if it is known that a 3rd Party (i.e. us) will remove the useable timber which, for our purposes, is anything over roughly 3” or 75mm in diameter. Tree surgeons usually clear the brash and smaller branches with a chipper, which is good news for us as we do not possess similar equipment.

Please get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this further, either by email logs@well-springs.co.uk or phone 01452 505322, mobile 07940 566758.

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QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

Do you like completing surveys?

If so there's one that takes about 5 minutes to complete – I know because I've just done it – seeking your views on the canal restoration.

The responses will be particularly useful in the compilation of the Phase 1B bid due to be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year.

More information at http://goo.gl/mxx8aT – and you can find the survey itself at https://goo.gl/Fok9zQ
 

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EVENTS DIARY

Mondays & Wednesdays from 09:00: Maintenance activity at Western Depot.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, from 08:30: Ham Mill Lock restoration.
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 09:00: Maintenance activity at Eastern Depot.
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10:00: Volunteer sessions aimed at people new to volunteering; meet Bell House Wallbridge. CCT members also welcome.
Thursday evenings Vegetation clearance work parties from 17:30 at Eastern end – contact Jon Pontefract for details, 01453 754287 or 07986 351412, email jon.pontefract@stroud.gov.uk

JUNE
17th – East End Meeting at Trout Inn Lechlade, 19:30.
23rd – CAG Meeting Brimscombe Port 19:30

JULY
4th-11th – NWPG Camp, working at Bowbridge Lock.
7th – Noggin & Natter at the Alehouse, Stroud from 19:30.
15th – East End Meeting at Trout Inn Lechlade, 19:30.
18th-25th – WRG Camp 1, (probably) working at Bowbridge Lock.
25th-1st August WRG Camp 1, (probably) working at Bowbridge Lock.
28th – CAG Meeting Brimscombe Port 19:30

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If you have any item you consider newsworthy then please send me an email, although I would ask you to bear in mind that I always look for a connection with the Stroudwater, Thames and Severn or the CCT before considering any article for publication.

Any and all feedback – preferably good, but bad as well – is more than welcome.

PLEASE NOTE. We keep your email address on an electronic database for the sole purpose of contacting you in this way. We will never pass it on to any third party.

David Pagett
Editor, ENews
listmaster@cctmembers-newsletter.co.uk