Current heritage campaigns
Lock tail bridges
The club is alarmed at the appearance of scaffolding or wooden bridges that have been appearing on the tail bridges at locks on the Staffordshire & Worcester and the Trent & Mersey Canals. These appear to be in response to an incident in June 2011 when a boy fell into a lock and drowned when riding his bicycle across a tail gate bridge at Stourbridge.
While extending every sympathy to the boy's family for their sad loss, the club is concerned that BW's proposed new handrails for these bridges, and some bridge closures, will make lock operation less safe for the many boaters using them now and in the future. We are also worried that inappropriate designs will detract from the heritage value of these unique bridges. BW's own records show that accidents on these bridges have been extremely rare. Click here for more details and sample drawings.
We made a formal objection to Aylesbury Vale District Council concerning the development plans for the yard as we felt that insufficient attempts had been made to preserve the heritage features of this important canal junction. We think that the submitted plans did not follow the approach that was recommended on the Heritage Survey that BW commissioned before the project started. To see a copy of the objection we submitted, click here. Following withdrawal of the planning application, public meetings to consult on revised plans were held in April 2010. New plans, submitted in July 2010, have taken into account the objections raised and now propose:
- creating 12 residential units
- converting the carpenter's shop into another unit
- refurbishing and retaining the operational crane in its current position
- upgrading the boaters' facilities in their current position
Back cabin stoves
We have made strong representations to the BSI working party that is developing standards for solid fuel stoves. The first draft of these standards would have outlawed traditional back cabin stoves. This is now in the process of being changed and we are hopeful that traditional stove installations will be exempt. To see a copy of the summary points in the submission, click here. Feedback from the moderators has been positive and we are hopeful that the code will now fully address our concerns.
BW historic craft
BW is no longer able to maintain many of these and is looking to dispose of some of them. The Club has given advice to BW to help ensure that these boats retain their historic value after they pass into new ownership.
Abandoned or unlicensed craft
We have developed an understanding with BW in recent years that the Club’s advice will be sought whenever a boat, which might have historic importance, is recommended for Section 8.
We were delighted that The Lucy was rescued by Club member Peter Boyce. The image to the left is taken from his excellent site http://www.phobox.com/lucy
GU Gate Paddles
Despite undertakings from the then managers (Derek Newton GU Leicester Section, Caroline Clarke GU South and Simon Ainley GU Central) at various local User Group meetings that gate paddles would be fitted to new top gates on locks that originally had such paddles, some are still being made without them.
It was our understanding that following the re-organisation of the BW workshops into two main ones to cover the whole country, the correct patterns for gates had been sent to Stanley Ferry (wide locks) and to Bradley (narrow locks), so that there would be some consistency.
However, the above personnel are no longer in post and BW’s latest re-organisation may have thrown all this into doubt, so we will continue to keep up the pressure.
Long Horse Bridge, Derwentmouth
Long Horse Bridge carried the towpath from the Trent and Mersey Canal across the upstream arm of the River Trent and enabled boats to be towed from the canal onwards down the River Trent. Originally a wooden bridge, the last reconstruction was a concrete bridge erected by the Trent Navigation Company in 1932. The bridge was demolished by BW in 2003, allegedly on health and safety grounds, cutting off the towpath.
Derbyshire County Council plans to make a new, wide, multi-purpose bridge south of the old bridge – it will no longer be possible to tow a craft from the downstream River Trent to the Trent & Mersey canal. The Club has supported the Shardlow Heritage Trust in its campaign to have a new bridge constructed in the original position. This is important for boaters’ safety as well as keeping alive the waterways heritage value of this important canal and river junction. The campaign was not successful and the new bridge was installed in the Councty Council's preferred location in September 2011. See Waterscape.
Tipton Gauging Station, Factory Locks, BCN
The Club gave strong support to the BCNS, Dudley Canal Trust and the IWA local branch in their campaign to prevent the loss of Tipton Gauging Station – although it is a Grade II listed building, the waterway access to it is not. Approval of the developer’s plans was initially suspended in May 2007 by the Sandwell Metropolitan District Council’s Planning Committee but planning permission was eventually given later in 2007 and is in place for a 3 year period. Due to the current recession, no work has yet started on the site.