THE Lichfield Canal restoration project has received a massive boost with the award of £260,000 funding from Lichfield District Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy.This will allow Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust to build an 870m extension of the public footpath and partial dry canal channel alongside Falkland Road, creating a traffic-free community greenway link between Birmingham Road and the very popular Heritage Towpath Trail at Fosseway Heath.
Council leader Coun Doug Pullen said: “The project is about so much more than just bringing back the Lichfield Canal – it’s about helping people through volunteering or through the groups such as Duke of Edinburgh who take part in the project.”The path will be available to pedestrians and cyclists and of particular benefit to residents of the new Taylor Wimpey Friary Meadow and Bower Park developments, providing a green corridor supporting the sustainable development of Lichfield District.
Zone A of the Falkland Road channel and towpath project was completed during 2020, following the donation of land by Staffordshire County Council, a Community Fund grant of £2800 and LHCRT’s successful public Piling Appeal.The CIL funding, which comes from developer contributions, is subject to gaining planning permission for current and future works and transfer of land ownership from the county council.Final approval will allow the extension of the path and channel through Zones B and C up to Birmingham Road.
Local benefitsThe construction of a new canal bridge at Claypit Lane, and the construction of two replacement locks close to the junction of Birmingham Road, will be carried out as a subsequent phase and not as part of the project covered by the CIL funding.Additional benefits will derive from linking with the canal route east of Birmingham Road past the new Persimmon Homes St John’s Grange estate for access to school and community facilities.
The leader of Lichfield District Council believes the work to restore the Lichfield Canal is bringing far-reaching benefits to the area.Before councillors confirmed the CIL funding, Coun Pullen said that while the prospect of people travelling on the waterway may still be some way off, the benefits of the project were clear to see.“The work of the team of volunteers has far-reaching effects for the district,” he added. “The water may not be flowing for many years, but the restoration is helping people today.”
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