News article created on 28 February 2020

Neil O’Brien MP gets a close-up view as lock gates are replaced at Foxton Locks

Neil O’Brien MP recently experienced Foxton Locks from a totally different perspective as he stepped down into a drained lock for a chance to see how the Canal & River Trust keeps the 200-year-old famous flight of locks working smoothly

Four men in drained lock Phil Mulligan, Colonel David Young, Neil O’Brien MP borough, Richard Parry

Mr O’Brien, the Member of Parliament for Harborough, Oadby & Wigston, was joined by the Deputy Lieutenant for Leicestershire, Lieutenant Colonel David Young, and representatives of local authorities for a behind the scenes tour of our lock gate replacement works.

We are carrying out important works at Foxton, the longest and steepest ‘staircase’ of locks in the UK, including replacing a number of giant oak lock gates. The programme of works will see new lock gates lifted into seven of the site’s ten locks as well as repairs to historic brickwork and other parts of the lock structures.

As part of the visit, which took place on Friday 21st February, the special guests were invited to walk down into a drained lock to get a close-up view of the works. It was also an opportunity to meet some of our staff and Foxton’s team of volunteer lock keepers who keep things running smoothly in the summer months. The visit also gave a chance for people to hear about our plans for developing Foxton, encouraging people to stay longer at the site and boosting tourism in the area.

Neil O’Brien MP said: “Foxton Locks is a much-loved and well-visited attraction within the constituency, and it was fascinating to visit during a rare ‘drained’ period; for which I’d like to thank the Canal & River Trust for the invite.

“The important work that is being carried out will help to ensure it remains an important attraction for many years to come, and I look forward to hopefully visiting again in the future. I’d also encourage anyone who is interested in seeing the drained locks to attend one of the upcoming open days.”

Philip Mulligan, our regional director, said: “We were delighted to welcome Mr O’Brien, as well as Colonel Young and our other guests, to showcase the works currently taking place at Foxton. It was a great opportunity to show the hard work and craftsmanship that goes in to keeping this famous landmark site working the way it should and give them the chance to see it from a totally different perspective.

“It was also chance for us to outline our exciting plans for developing the site. Foxton Locks is already an incredibly popular place for people to unwind and escape the pressures of daily life but we think it has so much more potential. Our plans would enable people to spend longer at the site, making the most of the nearby pubs, cafes and businesses and giving the local visitor economy a real boost. It’s an incredibly exciting time at Foxton and it’s great to have so much local support.”