20th August 2015
Hello and welcome to ENews 2015-06.
There's been quite a gap since 2015-05 landed in your Inbox………..this was partly occasioned by the editor's protracted narrowboat holiday and, quite frankly, a dearth of stories submitted for publication! ENews is perceived as an important communications tool for the Cotswold Canals Trust – but I do rely upon contributions being regularly forthcoming to justify the publication of the next issue.
A thousand pounds plus has been paid out,
In the latest 300 Club draw.
There's lots to report on Phase 1A,
Skillsets are starting to soar.
Thanks to some grants that have been made,
We'll soon have a digger and barge.
A couple of films from my namesake,
See them on YouTube – no charge!
Steve seems to like talking dirty,
At Chalford there's muck being cleared.
Flail mower to fit on the digger,
And dredgings can dry then be cleared.
QUARTERLY BONUS (FOR 3)
The 300 Club Summer Draw 2015 was made at Alex Farm, Latton, the site of the CCT's Eastern Depot. The winners were selected byDoug Moore, one of the Depot volunteers, and they share a pot of £1,030 this time round.
The first prize of £618 was won by Mr G R Ingram of Peterborough, second prize of £309 went to Mrs Y Hardwick of Northampton and third prize of £103.00 went to the editor of the Trow no less, one David Jowett.
Further information about the 300 Club that is open to all members of the CCT can be found at http://goo.gl/SO3JaV
MARSHALL'S MONTHLY MISSIVE
Stroud District Council's Canal Project Manager David Marshall has kindly provided the following update, my thanks to him for this as usual.
– Lodgemore Bridge: Tenders for fabricating and installing a new lift bridge here have been received and the successful contractor notified of the intention to award the contract shortly. The cost was just within the available budget, but will need to be tightly controlled. Subject to discussions with the contractor, it is anticipated that work will start on site in October as the bridge has firstly to be made.
– Wallbridge Lower Lock: By mutual agreement, Britannia Construction has withdrawn from its contract to rebuild the lock. It was felt that the necessary work could not be carried out without involving significant extra cost, placing both the council and the company at substantial risk. Land & Water Services returned in late July to clear the lock and create a 2m walkway on the offside to allow safe working access. As soon as this work was completed, Waterway Recovery Group volunteers arrived and have now scaffolded most of the lock and removed the coping stones and defective brickwork on the towpath side. Brickwork repairs have already begun. Volunteers have also removed two tree stumps affecting the stonework and cleared the two paddle holes. The main brickwork has been found to be in excellent condition – one of the best yet – with only the top 7 courses or so needing attention. The biggest problem relates to the offside lock wall below the lower gate, where it may need to be replaced, along with the associated tail wall. Specialist advice on this area is being sought. Repairing this lock could be an extremely complex task and may well require sheet piles to be installed by contractors, especially at the lower end of the lock, to hold up the bank. Using volunteers to undertake most of the work has obvious advantages in terms of cost, but also means that the eventual result will be to a much higher standard than would otherwise have been possible. It is a dramatic illustration of how volunteers’ confidence and skills have increased over the last 3 or 4 years.
– Cheapside: We now have agreement on how to resolve the complex issue of dredging past two landslips, together with opening up the remainder of the channel whilst remaining in budget. Our engineer is now working on a final costed solution – though this will still depend on our being able to use the brownfield site at Cheapside as a drying out area for removed silt. In the meantime, Newland Homes has submitted a planning application for the erection of 37 dwellings, retail units and associated parking on the Cheapside site, including conversion of the former canal warehouse.
– Bowbridge Bridge: Despite previous hopes for an earlier start date, work here is now expected to begin in earnest in April next year. Gloucestershire County Council has been unable to obtain Temporary Flood Defence Consent from the Environment Agency to carry this out during the winter. Instead, necessary enabling works, eg supporting the gas main, will occur during the winter, enabling faster progress in the spring.
– Bowbridge Lock: Recently 20 volunteers from the Newbury Working Party Group worked on refitting the nearside coping stones and lock ladder. They completed the ground paddle sluices, effectively completing the lock chamber and the scaffolding has been removed. The lock gates are due to be installed on 18th August. Silt is now being cleared from the area below the lock, so that scaffolding can be erected, allowing rebuilding of the offside wall between the lock and the bridge.
– Ham Mill Lock: (Report from our volunteer 'Man on the spot' Les Morris) In the lock chamber & gate recesses all coping stones are now set in position. Both lock ladders are installed. Above the lock, both wing walls have been completely rebuilt ready for the coping stones to be reset. Repairs have been made to the culvert connecting the paddle chamber to the spillweir, and formers are in place in the paddle chambers to allow repair of the brick arches. The towpath in this area has been realigned to allow operation of the lock gates and paddles.
In the area around the lower offside gate, the construction of the retaining wall with concrete blocks and brick facing is now complete and the access ramp to the offside lockside is in place. The wall will now be edged and a fence installed along the edge, with lockable gate. Levelling of the offside lockside has started using the mini-digger. When this is complete, stockproof fencing will be installed as agreed with the owners of the neighbouring property.
Below the lock, removal of the silt and stabilising the bank below the bridge has started, following recommendations from Stroud District Council’s engineer. This involves installing a double height row of gabion baskets and replacing the offside wing wall which has collapsed completely.
– Brimscombe Port: The Homes & Communities Agency has recently offered the opportunity to secure funding to bring forward redevelopment of the site. Until now redevelopment has been unaffordable due to high infrastructure costs. A programme of works is now being drafted to deliver some of this infrastructure, making the site less expensive and more attractive to developers. The timescale is tight and work could begin very soon if our bid is successful. Work is likely to include:
• Demolition of some units
• Excavating part of the canal
• Construction of a new access
• Construction of a new river and canal bridge
– Living Waterway Awards: We are fortunate to have been shortlisted in the Restoration and Historic Environment category for a national Living Waterway Award – the premier canal restoration awards in the co
untry. The result will be known at the award ceremony in Westminster on 8th October.
Cotswold Canals Trust recently made a successful application to Stroud Town Council for £15k funding to facilitate the purchase of a mud barge.
And ….. Stroud Valleys Canal Company (SVCC) has also been fortunate to receive a grant of up to £25k from Stroud District Council to secure a variable reach digger. Such a machine could work alongside, or even on, a mud barge. This equipment will hopefully be deployed in the restoration of the next phase of the project, Saul Junction to Stonehouse.
See http://goo.gl/Ur0vVZ for the full story.
Our in-house film maker and namesake Robert Paget (no relation) has now produced a couple of short films that record the development and completion of the Capels Mill site.
Well worth a watch, follow the links that can be found at http://goo.gl/FDx5hv
Maintenance Operations Director Steve Pickover reports the following:-
1. Chalford Vegetation Control Scheme
In cooperation with Chalford Parish Council and Councillor Debbie Young and funded entirely by Gloucestershire County Council from their Flood Relief Fund, the CCT has organised for work to be carried out this month. The work is designed to enable an adequate flow of water, especially important following periods of heavy rain.
A specialist contractor is clearing both silt from the canal bed and vegetation in the Belvedere Pound, depositing the flotsam and jetsam onto the offside bank. Once this stretch is completed the amphibious vehicle being used will be moved to the Chalford Roundhouse Pound, and then transfer to a section of canal below Valley Lock to clear a path through the reeds.
The work should be completed in the next two weeks.
2. Flail Mower Attachment
The Stroud Valleys Canal Company (SVCC) has bought a 600mm wide – that's approx. 2ft in English – flail mower attachment for use on the 1.5 tonne mini excavator on long term loan from Molson's. Ideal for vegetation control work, mainly on the grass verge between the towpath and the water’s edge, it can also be used for hedge trimming when required.
Four of the current volunteer excavator drivers have been trained to operate the flail mower by Andrew Chapman of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust to whom we are extremely grateful, especially as this training was carried out free of charge. Thank you, Andrew.
Agreement has been reached with a local landowner to deposit dredgings on their land at Ryeford. Once the silt has dried out it will be taken away for recycling as topsoil (less the supermarket trolleys, bicycle frames and other detrius that will be dredged up no doubt). This will provide a long term solution to the disposal of dredged silt, an ongoing issue on the canal, as there are several brooks bringing down a constant supply of material that can quite easily build up with the resultant possibility of restricted navigation.
LATE BREAKING NEWS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
23rd – Summit Work Party based on Tunnel House Inn 10:00-15:00.
25th – CAG Meeting at Brimscombe Port 19:30.
1st – Noggin & Natter at the Alehouse, Stroud from 19:30.
8th – "Stroudwater Session" at Fromebridge Mill Whitminster, 19:30.
11th-13th – London WRG here for the weekend.
13th – Walk exploring Cambridge Canal & John Kemmett's Canal (Part 1). See http://goo.gl/AP9al5 for details.
17th – Summit Work Party based on Tunnel House Inn 10:00-15:00.
17th – East End meeting at the Trout Inn, Lechlade from 19:30.
19th-20th – WRG BITM here for the weekend.
22nd – CAG Meeting at Brimscombe Port 19:30.
26th-27th – WRG Forestry here for the weekend.
27th – Summit Work Party based on Tunnel House Inn 10:00-15:00.
6th – Noggin & Natter at the Alehouse, Stroud from 19:30.
9th – NWPG visiting.
10th – CCT AGM at SDC Council Chamber, Ebley Mill, Stroud from 10:30.
10th-11th – WRG BITM here for the weekend.
15th – Summit Work Party based on Tunnel House Inn 10:00-15:00.
18th – Walk exploring John Kemmett's Canal (part 2). See See http://goo.gl/AP9al5 for details.
21st – East End meeting at the Trout Inn, Lechlade from 19:30.
25th – Summit Work Party based on Tunnel House Inn 10:00-15:00.
27th – CAG Meeting at Brimscombe Port 19:30.
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.
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