From time to time the decisions we make can change the way you use the canal and river network. Where this happens we always try to get your input. Where it's a complex decision or has national interest, we will carry out a formal consultation. They don't happen all the time but if there are any underway you'll find them below.
Connecting Waterway Communities in the Southern Dales (Phase 1)
In February of this year a partnership of Canal & River Trust and Craven District Council received notification from the Department for Transport (DfT) that we had been successful in our application to the Cycle Ambition grant programme. The application for £450,000 will deliver the first phase of an ambitious plan which will ultimately link the Leeds City Region with the Yorkshire Dales National Park via an improved Canal towpath. The project is based on a strategic Access Development Plan which was completed in 2014.
Phase 1 is centred on the market town of Skipton and will transform a 4km stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal through to the village of Bradley. It will support residents to the south of the town and provide opportunities for greater levels of cycling and walking – both of which are key aspirations for the Government. The partnership identified the stretch between Skipton and Bradley for this investment as it met the specific criteria set by the programme. The work will provide further opportunities for cycling and walking around the National Park and will also link Skipton town centre with Snaygill Industrial Estate; the largest employment site in the Craven District.
Along the majority of this stretch the towpath is in a poor condition - it is muddy with very little visible stone/hard surfacing. This makes access difficult for most users, except those on mountain bikes. Even though the towpath passes through residential and employment sites very few people were seen to be using the towpath during site visits undertaken in November 2014 and January 2015. This would suggest that those living near to the canal are choosing to use other leisure routes in the area, partly as a result of the condition of the towpath. Canal & River Trust have in the past received complaints about the condition of the towpath in this area with complainants requesting that works be undertaken to improve the area. The following photographs of the site were taken in January and demonstrate its current condition.
Due to the finite resources which we work with there were no immediate plans by Canal & River Trust to undertaken any significant works along this stretch of towpath with our own funds. Therefore this represents a very valuable investment in our waterways by the Department for Transport and one which we very much welcome.
No specific towpath width has been specified as yet however we would look to maximise usage of the available space within any set environmental limitations. The proposed surfacing is a self-bind material (Centrack) which would be in keeping with the general surrounding landscape.
The finished towpath construction will comprise of 100mm sub-base (mix of existing and new) and a 50mm Centrack surface (a self-bind material). The final colour of the surface is to be confirmed. Where required washwall repairs will also be undertaken along this stretch and signage installed to remind people that canals are special places for them to spend time safely for a whole variety of activities.
We had initially intended to start on site in April 2015, however due to some additional engineering factors that needed to be taken into consideration it was necessary to re-visit our initial design for these works. This has now been completed and the works are programmed to start in early Autumn. This means the towpath will be open without obstruction through the summer. We estimate that construction will take approximately 10 weeks.
If you have any comments which you would like to submit to us with regards this project then please email firstname.lastname@example.org,uk by 24th July 2015.