From 1 August, the Central Shires Waterway teams, and their roles and responsibilities, will be absorbed into the neighbouring East Midlands, West Midlands and Manchester & Pennine waterways. The change will have little or no impact on operational and customer service staff in Central Shires and adjacent waterways, with teams continuing as before.
Early in 2017, the Trust plans to close its Fazeley office and open a new base in central Birmingham. It is proposed that all Fazeley-based office staff would move to central Birmingham by 31 March 2017. The Trust's front of house service will be transferred to Cambrian House in Birmingham, while the Fazeley facilities building will continue to be operational.
Ian Rogers, customer service & operations director, said: "I'd like to thank the Central Shires team, and its volunteer partnership, for all they have contributed over the past four years. Despite their sterling work, however, they have always faced the challenge that the waterway lacks a clear regional identity and does not fit with the way many of our key stakeholders – such as local authorities and business groups – are organised. By absorbing Central Shires into its neighbouring waterways we will be more aligned with our prospective partners, and better placed to establish and grow our local presence. This change will not affect the great work our staff and volunteers do out on the bank and in the communities around our waterways."
Stuart Mills, property director added: "Birmingham has the greatest concentrations of canals in the country, and lies at the heart of our network; yet we have limited presence in Britain's ‘canal capital'. Moving our main Midlands base from Fazeley, with its poor public transport links and a building in need of investment, surrounded by residential properties, into central Birmingham will give us greater flexibility, more connectivity and the opportunity to create a new national base - for both our Midlands and central teams."
The new office will overlook the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, is within two minutes of Birmingham Snow Hill station and less than ten minutes from Birmingham New Street.