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Local Firms play a big part in canal bridge construction.

A report by CCT Press & Media Manager Mike Gallagher

The Cotswold Canal restoration has brought work to Stroud construction companies.

David and Jason Benstock of Cotswold Formwork (CFL Ltd) based at Wallbridge are responsible for the groundwork, steelworks and shuttering.

Derrick and Nick Francis of Derrick Francis Masonry (DFM Ltd) located at Cashes Green are the contractors for the brick-laying. Both are family businesses. 

I found Nick Francis of DFM on site with co-worker Ron Moore to discuss their work.

Nick said “It is privilege to be working on such a prestigious structure, the brickwork is the icing on the cake for the finished article which will be appreciated by residents and visitors to Stroud alike and for future generations to enjoy”. Nick is pictured right.

The scheme also incorporates some dry stone walling, a traditional and specialised skill, which will also be carried out by DFM.

The actual bricks being used are supplied by a Gloucestershire company, Northcot Brick Ltd from Blockley near Moreton-in-Marsh and were sourced by the main contractor Carillion in conjunction with Gloucestershire Highways and the Cotswold Canal Trust. The brickwork matches, as far as possible, other new bridges constructed over the canal.

Andy Sealey, Northcot Brick Sales Manager, said “As a local independent company we supply bricks throughout the country and it is great to see our bricks being used on this major project in Stroud.”

The County Council’s project manager for the scheme, Nigel Edgeworth said “We are pleased to see local companies being procured for this project and always try and encourage our contractors to use local resources where possible. This approach is to encourage sustainability, minimising travelling for both personnel and materials.”

Clive Field of the Cotswold Canal Trust said “Since we moved into the offices at Bell House adjacent to the works we have been able to watch the progress of the bridge. We have been really impressed with the how the workforce have continued to make progress even through the severe weather experienced during the winter months. It is great to see it all taking shape now. When it is opened it will be a major milestone in the restoration of the canal, removing one of the major blockages on the route.”

Click on the icon below to learn more about Northcot Brick Ltd.