Dr Andrew Hardie, Chair of the Lapal Canal Trust, signs a £300,000 contract with Kevin Kirkland, Construction Director of Land & Water, to build the first Selly Oak section of the Dudley No2 Canal.
The new water feature section completes the development of Whitehouse Wharf and forms part of the Selly Oak Shopping Centre owned by M & G Real Estate and provided as a public amenity.
The area includes a bridge linking the new shops to Selly Oak town centre, the remains of a lime kiln and a new public square.
The large water area is designed to enable boats to turn and enter and exit the soon to be restored Dudley No 2 Canal.
It will be an attractive calming water feature in the heart of Selly Oak, to be enjoyed by all canal users – including canoeists, paddle boaters and anglers.
It is large enough to be a convenient destination for trip boats to and from central Birmingham. A very pleasant 55 minutes journey along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, taking in a beautiful green corridor not yet seen by many residents.
The landowners (Freeholder and Leaseholders) – Canal & River Trust, Sainsbury’s and M & G Real Estate – have very kindly given permission for the work to start; their support and that of their legal advisors was essential with work being planned to start in July.
Thanks also to C&RT for their technical evaluation and the permit to proceed. With the area forming part of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, C&RT have kindly agreed to maintain the water space.
The work is only possible because of the generous support of the 50 charities, companies, and individuals and who have helped to fund the project.
The larger funders are Veolia, Garfield Weston, Headley Trust, Landsec, Unite Students, William Cadbury, Jabbs and Rowland Trust.
The complex legal arrangements were managed by Gowlings WLG who have supported our project over many years.
The Lapal Canal Trust is now focused on raising the further £500,000 required to complete the restoration to Harborne Lane Bridge, which must be completed by 2025.
Andy Street Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority said: “Congratulations to the Trust on the progress made. This is a hugely important project for Selly Oak and the wider region, and I endorse it wholeheartedly.
“Our canals provide a safe and enjoyable way for residents to exercise, commute and connect with nature. We are all grateful for their restoration work, really encouraging to hear that the contract has been signed and progress is being made”
Kevin Kirkland, Construction Director at Land & Water said: “We are very much looking forward to working with the Lapal Canal Trust and getting started on building the first section of the Dudley No2 Canal and.
“At Land & Water, we pride ourselves on maintaining and enhancing the UK’s waterways for years to come and this is a perfect example of how the canal can be used to benefit surrounding communities and boat lovers.”
The project is supported by the Community Partnership for Selly Oak and forms part of CP4SO ambitious plans to preserve the many attractive old buildings in Selly Oak.