FOLLOWING four years of planning, Langport Town Council has been awarded a grant of £179,000 by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), which will go a significant way towards funding a number of infrastructure improvements on the non-tidal River Parrett in Somerset.
The total budget for the river project is just in excess of £200,000, with the remainder of the funding being provided by the Town Council and other groups.
This award is the direct result of countless hours’ hard work and determination by Langport Town Council, South Somerset District Council, The Inland Waterways Association and many others. Residents and organisations of Langport, as well as existing users of the waterways, have also been active supporters of the project that aims to enhance the use of the river and its corridors.
Commenting on the funding success, Ray Alexander, Chairman, IWA West Country Branch says: “Our congratulations go out to everyone involved in this multi-faceted project. It has taken a lot of hard work and determination to get to this point, but once the improvements are made they will open up 7.6 miles of navigable river and bring an increase in leisure, recreation and tourism attractions to the town.”
The grant will be used to add four pontoons with access ramps and safety equipment; three fishing platforms for disabled anglers; two sets of steps for canoeists; benches, picnic tables, bins and cycle racks for visitors; interpretation boards and new signage; solar lighting on footbridges; a fitness trail and an outside tap for filling reusable water bottles or washing muddy boots. Improvements to a 55o metre right of way between Langport and Huish Bridge will also be made as part of the wider project.
In addition to these infrastructure works, other funding will cover ongoing repairs to the slipway at Huish Bridge, half a mile upstream from Langport, as well as improvements to the adjacent car park, which together will be particularly useful for trail boaters and paddlers.
Val Saunders, Chair, Langport Town Council says: “The purpose of the Langport River Project is to enhance the facilities on the River Parrett both on and off-water. We have a stunning natural asset in the town and expect these improvements to attract more visitors to the area and add some real economic value. We aim to get the work completed by spring 2020.”