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The charity making life better by water

Creating successful waterside places

Design plays a key role in creating attractive waterside places that will enhance and protect the waterway.

Marsworth junction

In our capacity as statutory consultee, we strive to make sure any new waterside development seeks to enhance the wider waterway corridor and protects the intrinsic qualities that waterways offer. This can be achieved in several ways and is dependent on many factors.

Measures and designs that enhance our network can help to promote the utilisation of our waterways by new and existing communities. This has the potential to enhance the wellbeing of people who live and work close to our network.

Each waterside location needs to be considered individually, with no single design approach being appropriate in all locations. The following guiding principles should be taken into account so that, where appropriate, new waterside development should:

  • positively address the water
  • integrate the towing path and open up access to the water
  • link waterside space and the waterspace
  • use the waterspace itself
  • incorporate access and other improvements
  • engage with and tease out the qualities and benefits of being by water
  • reflect the scale of the local waterway corridor to the wider neighbourhood

These guiding principles are just a starting point in how we can work with others to transform places and enrich lives. They draw on the experience we have with our Property Development Team Joint Ventures, third party developers and in our role as a statutory consultee, in championing sympathetic yet contemporary waterside development. We would encourage potential developers to undertake pre-application discussions with us and to include any waterway, towpath and environs within their application site.

If you're designing a bridge across our waterway take a look at our document on bridge design, which was developed as part of considering our response to HS2. It comes in two parts:

HS2 Design Principles for Waterway Crossings Report - part 1
HS2 Design Principles for Waterway Crossings Report - part 2

Also look at our towpath policy document: Better Towpaths for Everyone.

Our towpath design guide can be found here.

Last Edited: 18 November 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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