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Phase 1B Heritage Lottery Fund bid

Building a better Heritage Lottery Fund bid – A report by Dr. Val Kirby

On Wednesday 4th June the Cotswold Canals Trust Council discussed the submission of the funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of the next stage of the Cotswold Canals. The Council agreed to postpone the submission until November 2015.

A team of Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) members and others have been working on a bid to the HLF since June 2013.  
Until recently the group was working towards submitting the bid in November 2014.
Then, at the beginning of May the HLF strongly recommended that we defer the bid for a year. Having reviewed a wide range of factors CCT Council has agreed to accept this recommendation.
CCT – Lead Partner
The Cotswold Canals Trust is the lead partner in the next stage of the restoration from Saul Junction to Stonehouse.
This vitally important stage (usually referred to as Phase 1B) will connect the restored canal to the national navigable waterways network.
Whilst this section is just 6 km (4 miles) long the civil engineering necessary to achieve the link will be very costly.
Some of the engineering challenges
  • The canal needs a new bridge at Walk Bridge on Whitminster Lane near Saul
  • Two new bridges will need to be built under the A38
  • A new canal channel must be built alongside the River Frome to provide navigation beneath the M5 motorway
  • Two new locks must be built to serve the new channel
  • A new bridge must be provided under the main north-south railway line

Then there is a whole 'missing mile' where a new canal channel will have to be dug.

All this is in addition to restoring existing locks, bridges, landing stages, towpaths and the canal channel itself.

Reasons for deferment

Submission of the funding bid has been deferred for the following reasons.

  1. Phase 1B will be one of the most expensive HLF funded projects in the country and therefore demands the best possible bid
  2. The restoration of the section from Stonehouse to east of Bowbridge (Phase 1A) must be substantially complete before the new bid is submitted
  3. The bid for 1B must be transparently based on an evaluation of the works carried out on Phase 1A
  4. The engineering details must be absolutely appropriate and effective
  5. Plans to manage the canal once it is open must be built on sound business and environmentally sustainable principles
  6. The bid must also show how local communities, including people of all ages, interests and abilities, will be actively involved
  7. The natural environment must benefit as well as the cultural heritage
  8. It must be shown how the restoration of the canal will have positive impacts on the local economy, prosperity and peoples' wellbeing
  9. Several million pounds of match funding must be found
 Click on the four obstruction pics to view larger versions 
Time & Expertise is needed

It will take time to do all this really well!
To keep everyone up to date Val will provide regular bulletins on the progress of the formation of the funding bid.

Val Kirby BA (Hons) Dip TRP Dip LA PhD FLI MRTPI

Val Kirby is a landscape architect, town planner and cultural geographer, with much experience in landscape and cultural heritage policy and strategy. As well as working in practice, including several years as Head of Landscape and Geodiversity at Natural England, she has held academic posts in England and New Zealand. In 2013 she represented Natural England at a public inquiry into the proposed expansion of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

Val does a small amount of environmental consultancy work, but spends most of her time as chair of the CCT’s Phase 1B group, working towards a new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funds to restore the Stroudwater Navigation from Saul Junction to Stonehouse.

Val is an appointed member of the Cotswolds AONB Conservation Board. She sits on the Landscape Institute’s Policy Committee, where her special interest is the connection between landscape, health and wellbeing. She chairs a group representing a number of environmental Non-governmental Organisations (including the CPRE and the National Trust) who want to persuade the major political parties to include landscape conservation and enhancement in their manifestoes for the 2015 general election.

As well as her professional interests, Val is a keen (if slow) endurance runner and sings in several choirs.

You may be able to help

Val would very much like to hear from anyone who is able to volunteer time to help with fundraising and/or publicity.

Click here to email Val Kirby 

Find out more

Click here or on the icon below to find out more about the scope of Phase 1B. The information has been researched and compiled by long term CCT member Nick Bird.

All the technical detail is currently the subject of in depth review and detailed design by a group of engineers who have volunteered their time to help.

So, some of the detail may eventually be different, but the essence of the scheme as a whole will remain as described by Nick.