Working in partnership with Loughborough Town Deal, we are improving a two-kilometre stretch of the River Soar towpath between Moor Lane Bridge and Belton Lane.
Part of our ongoing mission to care for and keep open the nation's historic waterways, the improvements through Loughborough will sure-up a stetch of the canal bank, create additional moorings for visiting boats, and ensure the towpath is available for boaters and the local community to use and enjoy.
The project has been made possible thanks to a £885,000 grant from Loughborough Town Deal. It will enable more people to boost their physical and mental health by spending time by the water and amongst nature.
Before the new towpath can be laid, we have recently completed works to reinforce a section of canal wall by installing 100-metres of steel piling between Moor Lane and Little Moor Lane to repair the bank and prevent any future erosion.
We are now starting works to lay a wider, all-weather towpath, making it suitable for use all year round, including by those with wheelchairs or buggies. Works will involve creating a wider path before laying a bitumen surface and then a stone chip layer to give the route a more natural feel. The project is also creating additional moorings for visiting boaters to stop and walk into town.
A special place
Alan Leather, our partnerships manager, said: “More than 200 years after it was built, this section of canal remains a really special place within the town and it's great to see the progress being made on these vital improvements which will bring real benefits to so many people.
“This project will bring added life and colour to Loughborough's waterways. It will encourage people to spend more time by the water and, with support from the Inland Waterways Association and members of Quorn Angling Society, we're excited to create some new moorings that will enable boaters to visit the town centre facilities and attractions more easily.
“It's great to be working alongside Loughborough Town Deal on a project that we know will make a huge difference to people living and working in the town and we're grateful for their continued support.”
The canal improvement is one of 11 projects Loughborough Town Deal is supporting after securing £16.9 million of Government funding. In total, the projects are worth over £40 million of investment for the town.
Cllr Jonathan Morgan, co-chair of Loughborough Town Deal, said: “It is really pleasing to see work on the canal under way and making such good progress. These improvements will benefit the people of Loughborough today and for many years to come and that's one of the aims of the Town Deal, to leave a lasting legacy.”
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, co-chair of Loughborough Town Deal, said: “The Town Deal has already delivered a Careers and Enterprise Hub and supported a significant regeneration scheme in the town centre and there are many more projects on the way. I am sure people will appreciate seeing the canal improvements already taking shape and we look forward to seeing the scheme completed later this year.”
The improvements will start at Chain Bridge, near Belton Lane, and work towards Moor Lane Bridge. The path will be closed in sections while the works are carried out with signage in place to advise those using the towpath. The first closure, between Chain Bridge on Canal Bank and Meadow Lane Bridge, will be in place from the middle of February.
More information about Loughborough Town Deal is available by visiting www.loughboroughtowndeal.co.uk.