Call for Grantham Canal to be part of town’s future economic plans

Lock 15 on the Grantham Canal before restoration began.
Lock 15 on the Grantham Canal before restoration began.
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Grantham Canal Society is calling upon people to persuade the district council that the waterway is vital to the future economic health of the town.

In the society’s latest newsletter, Bridge, it points out that South Kesteven District Council does not refer to the canal in its economic plans. The society urges people to download the Grantham Economic Development draft plan and make their views known during the public consultation. The closing date of the consultation is January 31.

Society chairman Mike Stone told the Journal: “The canal is very well used by Grantham people who use it for boating, walking, fishing and birdwatching.

“It is particularly well used on the other side of the A1 alongside the Earlesfield estate. People walk along the towpath, they use it as a cycle route and they go jogging along there as well. There are a lot of people who take advantage of the fact that it’s there.”

The canal society is currently working on restoring lock 15 at Woolsthorpe and hopes to complete it this year. Volunteers are also going to start work on lock 14.

Mr Stone said: “SKDC have been very supportive of our efforts to restore the locks. It may just be an oversight, but these things can become lost and I would hope that the council would include us in their economic plans. The canal is a vital part of the local economy.”

In the society’s latest newsletter, Mr Stone refers to the important work of the volunteers and the need to encourage more involvement from local communities.

He said: “By December 2016 we will probably have added an extra half-mile of navigable waterway and a new working lock to the four miles from the A1. The GCS has undertaken to maintain all of this so we need to showcase that we have the skills to make it a visual pleasure by keeping weeds down, trees pointing upwards and craft cruising.”

An SKDC spokesman said: “We are not at a stage to comment on individuals’ or groups’ views given the Economic Development Strategy consultation is still open until January 31. Once its findings have been collated we will be able to address the views that have been recorded.”

n To comment on the draft plan, visit www.surveymonkey.com

n For more information on the canal society and on how to become a volunteer go to www.granthamcanal.org