March 6th 2015
On Friday, 6th March Lichfield MP, Michael Fabricant, formally cut the first sod for the work which will see the reinstatement of a culvert and small aqueduct which was demolished when the M6 Toll motorway was built. This structure will enable the Lichfield Canal Trust to reinstate the canal right up to the aqueduct which the Trust had to install before the motorway opened to traffic in 2003. In the immediate future there will only be a walking route from the Boat Inn to Barracks Lane but this will open up the canal route to the general public. This has been made possible because the Trust managed to attract a substantial funding grant at the turn of the year to open up derelict canal land linking Lichfield and Brownhills.
Michael Fabricant has been a long-term supporter of the restoration of the Lichfield Canal and is one of its Patrons. He was joined for the ceremony by Directors of the Trust, the Leader and Vice-Chairman of the District Council and Councillor Terry Finn for the City. Representing Brownhills were Doug Birch MBE and deputies for Sir Richard Shepherd MP.
Canal Trust Chairman, Brian Kingshott said “This is a thrilling moment for the Canal Trust as we take a significant step forward. Although we have made substantial progress elsewhere along the Canal this is one of the most exciting moments in the 25 years we have been working on this project. I must pay tribute to the dedicated work of our engineer, Peter Buck and our finance director, Bob Williams who have made it possible for our dedicated team to make so much happen in so short a time. Whilst contractors must undertake some major tasks, much of the work is being done by our own volunteers who have pulled out all the stops in all weathers.”
The kit of parts needed to build the 43m. Culvert over Crane Brook has been delivered. All the necessary Agency permissions have been granted, and work will begin soon using local contractors.
In an exciting new proposal Mark Deadman, a director of WCL Quarries Ltd. revealed a possible plan to turn Cranebrook Quarry adjacent to the canal at Summerhill into a Marina. When the quarry is finally exhausted instead of filling it in and returning it to heathland it could be connected to the restored canal and turned into a marina. It would also provide valuable water storage for the canal.
Brian Kingshott said “This again shows local businesses engaging with the Trust and seeing it as a business catalyst.”
Many thanks to Mark for his hospitality during the visit.
Click here to see the full concept drawing, courtesy of WCL Quarries Ltd.