A PROJECT has started to revamp a section of canal towpath in Loughborough, Leicestershire.
The Canal & River Trust is working in partnership with Loughborough Town Deal to improve a 2km stretch of the River Soar towpath between Moor Lane Bridge and Belton Lane.
CRT East Midlands regional director Linny Beaumont said: “Local support, like the funding from Loughborough Town Deal, is crucial in helping us in our ongoing work to protect waterways and ensure that they can continue to be enjoyed both now and for future generations. It is great that Loughborough Town Deal Board has recognised the importance of Loughborough’s waterways for those living and working in the town.”
The project will transform the stretch of towpath and make it suitable for use all year round by people on foot or bike as well as those with wheelchairs or buggies and those accessing the water for boating. It will bring significant benefits to people in the south of Loughborough, enabling them to travel into town on a traffic-free route.
As part of the works the towpath will be widened and a new all-weather surface laid. This involves laying a bitumen surface and then a stone chip layer to give it a more natural feel sympathetic to the canal surroundings.
As well as improving the towpath surface the works will also see barriers removed, signage, wayfinding and access points improved and provision for boat moorings increased, enabling visiting boaters to visit town centre facilities and attractions more easily.
Research shows that time spent by water can help people feel happier and healthier and that the trust’s waterways bring £6.1 billion of welfare benefits annually by helping people keep healthy. With more people looking for a local escape on their doorstep, these works will make it easier and more appealing for people to get out to explore and enjoy the canal in Loughborough.
Works started in January and are due to finish in mid-May. The towpath will be closed for the duration of the works.
The project has been made possible thanks to an £885,000 grant from Loughborough Town Deal. It is one of 11 projects Loughborough Town Deal is supporting after securing £16.9 million of government funding. In total, the projects are worth more than £40m of investment for the town.