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East Midlands Chamber News

Planning permission sought for canal restoration

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has submitted a planning application for the restoration of the remainder of the canal within Chesterfield. This covers the 1.6 miles from Staveley to the edge of Renishaw. The application can be viewed on Chesterfield Borough Council’s planning website.

The route is mostly through open countryside. Part of it sits on the Staveley Puddlebank which is an embankment running for nearly half a mile across the Doe Lea river valley. The canal will cross the river on a 37m long aqueduct.

When it is finished, the canal towpath will provide a delightful walking and cycling route which will link up with the Trans-Pennine Trail, the Arkwright Trail and the Norbriggs Cutting Trail.

The volunteers from the Trust will build another lock at Staveley to complement Staveley Town Lock which they built a few years ago. Altogether the Trust has spent well over £200,000 on its work on this site. Derbyshire County Council’s Reclamation Department has also sunk considerable funds into the project which, along with the Loop Road, has totally transformed the area.

The canal is integral to the local landscape and the Trust is discussing how the restoration is central to the vision for Staveley currently being developed as part of the Towns Fund. Staveley is one of 101 towns allocated up to £25m each to support capital regeneration projects, and the Trust believes that this application should be one of the chosen projects.

The Trust was planning to start restoration work at Renishaw on a further kilometre of canal, working with volunteers, however the Covid-19 situation stopped it. The hope is that this work can start in the autumn. When both sections are complete, they will extend the canal within Derbyshire by 2½ miles.

Rod Auton, Chesterfield Canal Trust Publicity Officer, said: “When this planning application has been approved and the work has been done, it will give 1.6 miles more canal to Chesterfield and open up a new walking and cycling route that will include the 37m long Doe Lea aqueduct. With the Avant Homes development at Waterside, the proposed new garden village on the old Staveley Works site and the eventual development at Staveley Town Basin, the next few years will see a total transformation of the canal”.

Dom Stevens, Destination Chesterfield Manager, added: “It’s excellent news that the restoration of Chesterfield Canal is moving forward at pace. The canal has played a role in Chesterfield’s economy for centuries. Where once it was a vital transport route it is now forming an important part of Chesterfield’s tourism offering. It offers exciting prospects for the town to further grow its overnight visitor economy.”

In 1989, twenty miles of the Chesterfield Canal lay derelict between Worksop and Chesterfield. Since then 12 miles and 34 locks have been restored. Three new locks and 11 bridges have been built plus two marinas. Just over eight miles remains to be completed and this planning application covers 20% of that distance. This is the next step in the Trust’s campaign to complete the restoration of the canal by 2027, which will be the 250th Anniversary of its opening.