COTSWOLD Canals Trust and Stroud District Council have welcomed the news that the Canal & River Trust is backing the bid to reconnect Stroud to the national canal network.
Canal & River Trust trustees have pledged £625,000 to support the restoration of the Cotswold Canal. The assistance will be spread over five years from 2018 if a bid this year to the Heritage Lottery Fund is successful. This is in addition to the support ‘in kind’ that the Trust can also provide.
David Hagg, chief executive of Stroud District Council, comments: “We’re delighted to receive support from the Canal & River Trust. It’s a real endorsement of all the effort that has gone into restoring the canal. The funds could be an important factor in helping to secure a bid by Cotswold Canals Trust and Stroud District Council to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year which would see nearly £20m overall investment in the waterway.
“If the bid is successful, it will fulfil the waterway movement’s long held ambition to connect approximately 11 miles of ‘new’ canal to the wider network as it will connect the six miles of largely restored canal around Stroud, to the Canal & River Trust’s network at Saul Junction on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.”
Jim White, chair of the Cotswold Canals Trust, added: “The financial support now is very welcome indeed as we go back to the Heritage Lottery Fund to try and unlock the funds to complete the restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation.”
The decision follows Stroud District Council’s investment of £3million in the project, and Gloucestershire County Council’s recent announcement that it will commit £700,000.
If the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is successful, ‘Stroudwater Connected’ would start in 2018/19 with the Canal & River Trust’s contribution of £125k per annum (plus staff time as can be made available) continuing over five years.