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Stroudwater Navigation Funding Bid Fails

Stroudwater Navigation — Complete & Connected

The £15m Heritage Lottery Fund bid fails, but restoration goes on!

The Cotswold Canals Trust is determined to continue with elements of the planned restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation from Saul to Stonehouse despite a disappointing announcement today (Friday May 6, 2016) that a bid for £15 million towards the project has been turned down for this year by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Encouraging guidance

The Trust is already discussing the likelihood that another bid might be made for the next annual round of grants. It has been encouraged by written guidance from HLF on ways that might increase the probability of success next time.

"We will be meeting with Heritage Lottery Fund to review their feedback and to decide with our partners how we can progress towards a resubmission of a revised bid in November 2016," said the Cotswold Canals Trust Chief Executive, Ken Burgin.

"In the meantime, there are several exciting projects under way this year and plenty of progress to be made.

"From what we understand, our lack of success this time round was not primarily due to any deficiency in the content of our bid so far as the project is concerned, but was more to do with competition from other bids seeking smaller amounts of money."

Linking the Cotswold Canals to the national waterways network

The main purpose of the restoration project is to link an existing six-mile stretch of restored canal from Stonehouse to Brimscombe — due to be completed this year — with the 2,500 mile national waterways network via the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal at Saul Junction.

Had the Lottery bid been successful, the Restoration Partnership, led by the Cotswold Canals Trust, was aiming to complete the scheme within six years, at a total cost of £20 million.

Now this next restoration phase is likely to take somewhat longer. New and varied funding sources will be urgently sought to back up an HLF bid resubmission in November this year.

Funding bid leader Val Kirby comments…

“We are determined to keep up the momentum for this brilliant project that has caught the imagination of our local communities and the boating world.

“The HLF have told us that much of the work we have already done is good: so we need to identify the gaps, and get busy: it’s not long to November.”

Next steps

One way in which the scheme is likely to be moved forward is by pursuing solely volunteer led projects such as environmental impact assessments and conservation plans. This will reduce the time needed to commence the cost-sensitive physical work required once funding has been secured.

Meanwhile, the Phase 1A restoration of the canal from Stonehouse to Brimscombe, which is funded under a previous HLF grant and managed by Stroud District Council, moves closer to completion.

The work continues

The hydraulically-operated Lodgemore lift bridge, (pictured above ) is now almost ready for use by boaters, while work is under way to resolve land slippages and dredging of the canal in the centre of Stroud.

Work is advancing to complete Wallbridge Lower lock, and Gloucestershire County Council is expecting to resume work shortly on the redesigned Bowbridge Bridge.

Find out more about the funding bid and the way forward

Val Kirby has prepared some questions that you might like to ask.

The answers will provide some background to the bid whilst describing the next steps that will be taken.