Amazingly 80% of people in Walsall live within just 1km of a canal so the towpaths provide an ideal way of getting to work or the shops. The towpath improvements will also give the local community a safe, welcoming place to exercise or to just get away from it all for an hour or so.
Four stretches of towpath along the Darlaston Canal and the Goscote Birchills Canal have been earmarked for improvements which will include resurfacing the path and making it wider. It's anticipated that work will be completed by September 2019.
Once finished, the improved towpaths will connect Walsall Town Centre to redevelopments in Goscote and Darlaston Enterprise Zone as well as linking people's homes with places of work, schools and colleges.
The project has come about after Walsall Council successfully applied for a £1.62M grant from the Department for Transport and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.
Adnan Saif, regional director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Independent research tells us that spending time by the water can help us to lead happier and healthier lives and, with 80% of people in Walsall living within 1km of a canal, our local waterways have a really important role to play.
“These works will ensure that, whatever the time of year, the towpath is a welcoming, accessible place for local people to build some time by water into their daily routines and, in doing so, improve their health and wellbeing.”
The towpath improvements are part of the £6.12m Walsall Economic Growth and Infrastructure Package to ease urban congestion, improve air quality and boost the local economy.
Speaking about the work, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council, Cllr Adrian Andrew said: “Canal towpaths have a part to play in connecting communities and connecting our workforce to the businesses investing in Walsall. They can also provide recreational opportunities such as walking and cycling.”