March 11 2016
Hello and welcome to ENews 2016-03.
Internet Service Provider AOL has placed a block on our newsletters, so for the time being all 184 AOL subscribers to ENews will not be receiving a copy.
We are hoping for resolution of this matter in due course but a timescale is difficult to predict. Meanwhile if you have friends or acquaintances who use AOL as their ISP it may help if you could have a word with them to see if they could raise a complaint from the receiving end as it were.
Here's the latest update on matters 1A:
Landing Stages: Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers have now begun installation of two landing stages at Ebley Wharf. The existing hard edges are too high for most boaters to use. SDC volunteers have installed mooring bollards as part of this work. The new landing stages will include lower sections which are suited to canoes. Their structure principally comprises reused motorway crash barrier. Work is expected to be completed in March.
Lodgemore Bridge: The new bridge opened to traffic on 15th January. Delivery of the hydraulics is still awaited, so the bridge will not be capable of lifting until mid-February, when a small opening ceremony is planned.
Wallbridge Lower Lock: As reported last month, we were about to order propping equipment for the failed lock wall and we had been successful in finding a contractor to install it. However, another company has been found which proposes dismantling the offside without propping, using a machine reaching over the canal. We are trying to get this proposal firmed up to include a cost.
The same contractor also put forward a proposal for resolving the bank collapse issue upstream. Again, we are trying to get this firmed up. It is likely that this will lead to a narrowed towpath at this point, since discussions to obtain an additional sliver of land are not making headway. This is less of a problem given that the more direct route – and the actual Public Right of Way – goes along WSP’s access road and out onto Bath Road.
Cheapside: We are finally moving closer to finalising the agreement over our use of the vacant site behind the Canal Visitor Centre. This is needed so that material from the canal at Cheapside can be loaded onto lorries for disposal. As a result, we expect to place the contract this month for dredging of the channel between Wallbridge Upper Lock and Capel’s Mill, including stabilisation of the slipped sections. Final tree removal has been undertaken by Waterway Recovery Group volunteers. The contract is now expected to start at the beginning of March and be completed by the end of April.
Once the channel here is cleared, there will be open canal between Wallbridge Upper Lock and Arundel Aqueduct. In order to better control levels and to enable maintenance without total dependence on the lock gates, we are in the process of installing stop plank grooves at the top of the lock
Bowbridge Bridge: Although GCC-led work is well underway here, public concern over the planned non-inclusion of the towpath under the new bridge has led to a reappraisal, with the possible aim of retaining the single-carriageway bridge, with a new pedestrian bridge running alongside. GCC is now undertaking the following actions:-
– A Road Safety Audit (RSA) to establish how well the current traffic management arrangements are working on site. Currently as a result of reduced lane width, traffic is operating under a priority give way across the bridge. The ideal scenario would be to keep this existing traffic arrangement and to not have to widen the carriageway. The RSA will provide guidance on this.
– Asking the contractor to investigate availability and lead in for a simple footbridge and without doing a major re-pricing exercise and to assess any cost savings
– Writing to Wales & West Utilities to establish if there are any issues with permanently suspending their gas main under a footbridge
My thanks as usual to SDC's Dave Marshall for this information.
CCT Volunteers have just started using a recently acquired long reach digger to dredge the pound between Ham Mill Lock and Griffin Mill Lock, disturbing a rather large eel in the process! Goodness knows what it was doing there, especially as there was only a small channel running through the sludge before they started……….
The purchase of the digger itself was negotiated with Molson's of Bristol and it was bought by Stroud Valleys Canal Company. Currently there is a pool of 4 trained CCT volunteer operatives.
IS 1B 2B?
On the 17th February six hardy souls from the Heritage Lottery Fund spent a somewhat wet and windy day seeing for themselves the proposed route of Phase 1B. The delegation met the project's partners and members of the team during their visit.
Go to www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/heritage-lottery-fund-visit-report-830.php to read Val Kirby's comprehensive report on the day's proceedings.
PLEASE NOTE A CHANGE TO THE NOTIFICATION TIMETABLE……..The HLF will make its decisions on this year’s major Heritage Grants on 19 April, although the results will not be communicated to all applicants until after the Local Government Elections in early May.
The CCT will then be informed in confidence so that plans for the outcome can be formulated. Realistically, therefore, we are looking at mid to late May before any formal announcement can be made.
Trust Director Steve Pickover has been involved in the Trust's recent acquisition of two 70' narrow beam mud barges that will be used during the dredging operations planned for Phase 1A later this year. Steve says:
"Our two current wide beam mud hoppers have been modified recently for use by the Landing Stages team. Each of the 'new' ones is solidly constructed of 10mm plate steel, except for the gunwales which are of 6mm steel. Before purchasing a steel thickness survey was undertaken, revealing the steel to be in very good condition with little pitting and corrosion. The hoppers were transported down from a farm in Leamington Spa to Upper Mills, Stonehouse, in early February. Ground conditions mean that the crane operator had to survey the site and devise a position for the mobile crane from which they can be lowered into the canal. We plan to begin dredging Phase 1A later this year when we bring our dredger back from Hope Mill and we hope to use the crane on the same day to launch the mud hoppers. Although both are 70 feet long they can be navigated through our locks on Phases 1A &1B. Some modification MAY be carried out later to facilitate locking through while still breasted up with a narrow beam tug.
"The boats were obtained using a £15,000 grant from Stroud Town Council and we are very grateful for their assistance."
The next stage is to give names to the barges – see http://www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/name-the-mud-boats-834.php for more information.
The 4th Wildlife Walk of the season took place recently and a report of what was observed can be read at http://www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/watching-wildlife-report-no.-4-wednesday-2nd-march-2016-835.php.
The next one is scheduled for Wednesday 16th March, 10:00 start from Wallbridge Lock, Stroud. Free to CCT members, £3 for non members. As mentioned before the walks are not considered suitable for dogs.
SECOND HAND ROWS
That doyen of the second-hand book, Anna Watts, is looking to set up a bookshop in Brimscombe Port. Preliminary preparations will be taking place between 10:30 and 15:30 on the 18th-20th March inclusive in the first unit on the left as you drive in; there's a "CCT" sign in the window.
One important element of the whole exercise is a need for some second-hand bookcases to hold the second-hand books. If you have one sitting in the garage or garden shed that needs a good home then please let Alan or Anna know on 07976 617983 or 07413 566600.
Any and all CCT members are welcome to attend at any time over the 3 days to help sort and organise the books, to price them and to design appropriate signage.
At this early stage the plan is for the bookshop to open for a trial period on Tuesdays and Saturdays – although the actual opening times are yet to be decided.
Either Alan or Anna would be delighted to hear from you now, though, if you would like to become involved and their contact numbers are as above.
The fridge used by volunteers that's located in the infamous Welfare Suite of Western Depot, Eastington, has given up the ghost.
Are you looking to replace yours, are you waiting to take one in full working order down to the recycling centre? If so and if you are within, say, a 10/15 mile radius of GL10 3RT we could even arrange to come and collect it for you! Or you are of course welcome to drop by Western Depot any Monday or Wednesday as long as we know you are coming.
Please let me know if you can help – email@example.com or 07940 566758
MILL ON THE NILE
A couple of weeks ago 84 mainly CCT volunteers together with representatives from several other organisations came together at Egypt Mill Nailsworth for a half-day conference.
After several presentations and group discussions there was a feedback session from which there was one overriding theme – the need to improve communication between Trust Council and volunteers, within and between volunteer groups, and between all our partner organisations’ volunteers.
A fuller report will appear shortly on the CCT website under the heading 'Latest News'.
WHAT'S GOING ON?
The best place to find out what's up and coming is the front page of Connect, the Volunteers' website.
Follow this link to go there: http://www.cct.teamconnect.org.uk/index.php
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.