Should Bridge 70 not require underpinning we plan to go straight ahead with the following programme.
Programme A: conserve built and natural heritage
To restore bridge 70 of the Uttoxeter Canal, improve the adjacent canal and its towpath. Bridge 70 is the only remaining intact bridge on the closed Uttoxeter Canal. This project will restore the bridge, which carries public footpaths 40/43, and improve access to it from the nearby Staffordshire Way. This will encourage visitors to visit this interesting feature, increase use of the footpath, and promote awareness of the Canal and the plans to restore it.
Fit to existing strategies and objectives
An outline feasibility study was commissioned by Staffs County Council and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust to look at restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal. The report, published in November 2009 by Halcrow Engineering concluded that “…this is a technically feasible project.” Among the recommended next steps was volunteer-led clearance of the line of the canal between Alton and Crumpwood. Improvement of the canal and towpath by Bridge 70 will be the first part of this clearance work.
Comprehensive description of the project
7b Contingency projects are the third phase CUCT programme of activity designed to involve the community and volunteers from further afield in work camps.
Works programmed 2013 to 2014 managed by CUCT with support from Waterway Recovery Group and CVLLP partners. A temporary Project Manager will be required to ensure on-time and on-budget delivery of the project:
- resurface, waterproof and regrade the south approach for easier and safer pedestrian access
- repoint and repair the arch ring, spandrels, parapets, abutments, elevations and wingwalls
- remove vegetation and trees from round the bridge
- upgrade the existing parapets to protect public safety
- clear trees and other vegetation out of the canal and improve the towpath along the route from the Staffordshire Way to the bridge
Who will benefit?
Local Community, leisure visitors in general
Outputs and outcomes
Restoration of Bridge 70:
- 300m of towpath improved
- 300m of derelict canal cleaned up and banks stabilised
- 100+ volunteers gain experience in heritage bridge and canal restoration techniques, vegetation management etc.
- 10 trainees gain accreditation inskills associated with heritage bridge restoration.
- Visitors to this part of the Staffordshire Way have increased awareness of the Uttoxeter Canal and its role in the industrial heritage of the area
- Improved understanding of the technical, ecological and biosecurity issues arising from further restoration projects on the Uttoxeter Canal
Ownership of the bridge and canal are being investigated at the time of writing. The canal has been derelict in the area since 1849 and exact boundaries are not defined on the ground. Adjacent landowners on both sides of the canal are supportive of this project. This issue will be resolved before any works begin.
What happens when the project is finished?
The consolidation of Bridge 70 will safeguard this important piece of heritage for the next fifty years (at least). It will also act as evidence of the commitment of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership to continue with significant heritage progress toward the reinstatement of the Uttoxeter Canal.
Technical, ecological and biosecurity information gained from this project will allow the Trust to more accurately scope the next sections of restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal.
Risks and constraints
Risk: Failure to recruit or retain suitable numbers and quality of volunteers.
Contingency planning: The Trust will work closely with the national Waterway Recovery Group to monitor volunteer numbers. Waterway Recovery Group has experience over many years of scheduling this type of work. The frequency of work parties (one week-long and three weekend work parties per year) can be increased if the project falls behind schedule. Informal locally based work parties will also be held.
Project Delivery Risks
Risk: Poor weather may reduce our ability to deliver the project within described timescales.
Contingency planning: Work parties can be rescheduled if conditions are unsuitable. Works where inclement weather would be a factor, such as repair and re-pointing of the bridge, have been scheduled for the summer months to reduce risk.
Constraints, licences, permits etc
The bridge is not a listed structure and is not in a Conservation Area so only standard planning permission will be required for the modifications to the bridge parapets. The Local Authority has already indicated their support for the scheme, which accords with their own policies.
The bridge and towpath are situated near to land owned by South Staffs Water and Staffordshire County Council. JCB own the access route from the public highway to the site. Alton Towers also own land within 20m of the site. All have been kept informed of the planned works and are supportive of the scheme.
All parties will be kept fully notified of schedules of work. The exact schedule and nature of the works will depend on the investigation of foundations to be undertaken as the first part of the project. No work will be undertaken until we have agreements from all interested parties, as listed above.
Clearing out the line of the canal will have a small but positive effect on flood risk management in the area.
During access work along the canal route we will manage invasive species in conjunction with the Big Pull (CVLLP 9) and the dedicated professional action of the Canal Vegetation Project (CVLLP 5).
The Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust will maintain high levels of biosecurity while undertaking projects. They will also work with others to raise the awareness of biosecurity issues within the valley. One of the defined outputs of the project is to establish biosecure best practice for future restoration projects on the Uttoxeter Canal.
Reduce travel: Volunteers on both week long and weekend work parties will stay in local accommodation arranged by the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. Travel to and from site each day will be done in Waterway Recovery Group minibuses. Locally based volunteers will be encouraged to car share or to cycle to the site. There is no public transport provision within 2 miles of the project area.
Discipline: Volunteers will be expected to comply with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust Environmental Policy.