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Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

Froghall planning application reviewed by the Trust

27 February 2021 - 9:35am
Froghall planning application reviewed by the Trust CUCT Sat, 27/02/2021 - 09:35

As reported recently, a planning application has recently been submitted for land directly south of the basin at the start of the Uttoxeter Canal in Froghall. This application puts 48 new houses between the basin and nearby A52 (note not 49 as previously reported, the 49th property is the refurbished listed farmhouse.) This development would block the historic line of the canal, destroy physical remains of the canal both on the surface and underground, and does not provide space for an alternative alignment. This application directly contravenes both adopted planning policy documents for this area, the Churnet Valley Masterplan and Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan, which reserve the line of the canal for a potential restoration, and in the shorter term for the safe walking route from the canal basin to the A52 which the Trust has lobbied for since 2005.

We have now had time to read the application in more detail. The significance of the Uttoxeter Canal and the opportunity for restoration is played down throughout the application. In the heritage statement it is described as a "non-designated heritage asset - has (as yet unproven) archaeological value" which came as something of a surprise to the Trust not least as Historic England record the canal as a monument, but also because detailed maps recording the line of the canal from Froghall to Uttoxeter were supplied to Staffordshire County Council, at their request, specifically for the purpose of updating the Historic Environment Record around a decade ago.

Over £700,000 has already been granted by various bodies towards restoring the canal, most of this being spent in Froghall itself reopening the first lock and basin directly adjacent to the present application site. The heritage statement of the present application comments that "While there is no remaining surface evidence of the old canal, the area has been purposely left largely undeveloped in order to retain vistas across the site" which might more accurately be restated as "It is proposed to flatten at section of canal which shows at surface level, eliminate the site of lock 3 and lay a road down the line of the canal." The only section of the application area that is not redeveloped in these proposals is Lock 2, which it is impossible to build on because of the topography of that part of the site.

Froghall before work started, 2002

 

The application plays down the opportunity to restore the canal, doing a huge disservice to volunteers who have contributed huge amounts of time working on the canal since 2003. The Trust estimates that around 32,000 hours of volunteer labour have so far been contributed to our long term vision to restore the canal. We do not flinch from saying this is a long term aspiration. Volunteer-led projects of this size and complexity often take many years to deliver. There are examples across the country of ultimately successful canal restorations which have taken decades to complete. Many have had more complex engineering challenges than the Uttoxeter Canal, which while it was one of the earliest canal closures, in 1849, was largely abandoned rather than being built upon as far as Denstone, other than in the village centres. The 2009 restoration feasibility study confirmed that there were no insurmountable problems to reinstating the canal, largely along its original line between Froghall and Denstone. A new line for the canal would be needed from here to Uttoxeter, which whilst not technically complex should not be tackled until the restoration of the first half of the canal nears completion.

Waterway Recovery Group and local volunteers at Froghall on opening day of the first lock and basin, 2005

 

The application states that "a future restoration is unlikely to be viable within the site layout proposed." For absolute clarity, restoration is not made "unlikely" by this application, it permanently ends any opportunity to reinstate the Uttoxeter Canal. The only link to the outside canal network is through this site and without the potential of an eventual a connection to the national waterways network the restoration is not fundable. It is also extremely unlikely that the Trust could attract the number of volunteers from the national waterways restoration community that have so strongly supported the project over many years.

New towpath beside the Uttoxeter Canal at Bridge 70, February 2018

 

The Trust strongly encourages all who are interested in the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal, or indeed any of the related footpath and environmental improvements which have been undertaken or are proposed, to look at the planning application, SMD/2020/0684 and related listed building consent, SMD/2020/0685, and to respond to these. The Trust will be opposing the application in its own comprehensive response in due course and a significant number of early responses supporting our view would be incredibly helpful. Our ideal outcome would be that this application is withdrawn before the closing date and resubmitted in a form which does not block the line of the canal. This essentially means only building on the land designated for housing in the local plan, and we would have no objection to this. Responses need to be submitted via the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council website by 17th March.

Proposed housing at Froghall would permanently block the Uttoxeter Canal restoration

22 February 2021 - 12:05pm
Proposed housing at Froghall would permanently block the Uttoxeter Canal restoration

Dear all

A planning application has recently been submitted for land directly south of the basin at the start of the Uttoxeter Canal in Froghall. This application puts 49 new houses between the basin and nearby A52. Based on the information provided we can confirm that, if approved, the development would block all possible alignments for the canal through Froghall, and would permanently end our ongoing project to restore the Uttoxeter Canal. It would remove the opportunity to attract funding and support for improvements not only in Froghall but also the 7 miles of canal between there and Denstone, and would end ongoing volunteer-led works in the Alton and Crumpwood areas. The proposal contravenes both the adopted Churnet Valley Masterplan and the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan as it destroys the line of the canal, which is a nationally recognised historic monument. Both the planning documents record the route of the canal in Froghall and support restoration as a long term aspiration, with a pedestrian route from the canal basin to the A52, down the original towpath, as a short term goal.

The first lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal were reopened in 2005, in a £625k partnership project between volunteers, British Waterways, local and regional authorities, backed by the European Regional Development Fund. The 2009 restoration feasibility study demonstrated that the line of the canal from Froghall as far as Denstone was largely extant and could be restored with minimal deviations from the original line in Oakamoor and Alton, and in a few places where it was crossed by the later railway line. New alignments for the canal in all these locations have been identified. In 2012, the Trust began restoration works further down the canal between Alton and Denstone, in a £105k project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Heritage Fund) as the single largest project in the £2m Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership. This grant was used to restore Bridge 70, clear the line of the canal and towpath in that area, laying 250m of new towpath in the process. Since then volunteers have cleared an additional 1.5km of towpath and have uncovered the site of three locks and other heritage structures along the line of the canal, including the grade II listed and unique Crumpwood Weir, where boats previously crossed the River Churnet.

The Trust strongly encourages all who are interested in the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal, or indeed any of the related footpath and environmental improvements which have been undertaken or are proposed, to look at the application, SMD/2020/0684, and to respond to it. The Trust will be opposing the application in its own comprehensive response in due course and a significant number of early responses supporting our view would be incredibly helpful. Our ideal outcome would be that this application is withdrawn before the closing date and resubmitted in a form which does not block the line of the canal. This essentially means only building on the land designated for housing in the local plan, and we would have no objection to this. Responses need to be submitted via the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council website by 17th March.
 
Thank you for your support.

Steve Wood
Chairnan

CUCT Mon, 22/02/2021 - 12:05

Proposed housing at Froghall would permanently block the Uttoxeter Canal restoration

22 February 2021 - 10:14am
Proposed housing at Froghall would permanently block the Uttoxeter Canal restoration CUCT Mon, 22/02/2021 - 10:14

A planning application has recently been submitted for land directly south of the basin at the start of the Uttoxeter Canal in Froghall. This application puts 49 new houses between the basin and nearby A52. Based on the information provided we can confirm that, if approved, the application would block all possible alignments for the canal through Froghall, and would permanently end our ongoing project to restore the Uttoxeter Canal. This development would remove the opportunity to attract funding and support for improvements not only in Froghall but also the 7 miles of canal between there and Denstone, and would end ongoing volunteer-led works in the Alton and Crumpwood areas. The proposal contravenes both the adopted Churnet Valley Masterplan and the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan as it destroys the line of the canal, which is a nationally recognised historic monument. Both the planning documents record the route of the canal in Froghall and support restoration as a long term aspiration, with a pedestrian route from the canal basin to the A52, down the original towpath, as a short term goal.

The first lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal were reopened in 2005, in a £625k partnership project between volunteers, British Waterways, local and regional authorities, backed by the European Regional Development Fund. The 2009 restoration feasibility study demonstrated that the line of the canal from Froghall as far as Denstone was largely extant and could be restored with minimal deviations from the original line in Oakamoor and Alton, and in a few places where it was crossed by the later railway line. New alignments for the canal in all these locations have been identified. In 2012, the Trust began restoration works further down the canal between Alton and Denstone, in a £105k project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Heritage Fund) as the single largest project in the £2m Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership. This grant was used to restore Bridge 70, clear the line of the canal and towpath in that area, laying 250m of new towpath in the process. Since then volunteers have cleared an additional 1.5km of towpath and have uncovered the site of three locks and other heritage structures along the line of the canal, including the grade II listed and unique Crumpwood Weir, where boats previously crossed the River Churnet.

The Trust strongly encourages all who are interested in the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal, or indeed any of the related footpath and environmental improvements which have been undertaken or are proposed, to look at the application, SMD/2020/0684, and to respond to it. The Trust will be opposing the application in its own comprehensive response in due course and a significant number of early responses supporting our view would be incredibly helpful. Our ideal outcome would be that this application is withdrawn before the closing date and resubmitted in a form which does not block the line of the canal. This essentially means only building on the land designated for housing in the local plan, and we would have no objection to this. Responses need to be submitted via the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council website by 17th March.
 
Thank you for your support.

Steve Wood
Chairnan

Alton Lock

13 September 2020 - 12:13am
Alton Lock CUCT Sun, 13/09/2020 - 00:13

Charlesworth Lock

12 September 2020 - 11:57pm
Charlesworth Lock CUCT Sat, 12/09/2020 - 23:57

Uttoxeter Canal self-guided walk

12 September 2020 - 7:32am
Uttoxeter Canal self-guided walk

Dear Uttoxeter Canal supporter

I sent an email a few days ago but it is clear that it did not reach everyone on our mailing list and I do want to be sure that everyone has seen this, so apologies if you saw the previous version.

I want to let you know that tomorrow we will be hosting a small event on the Uttoxeter Canal. As part of the national Heritage Open Days event we are encouraging our supporters to take a self-guided walk along the Uttoxeter Canal, starting at either Alton or Denstone, as you wish. Members of the Trust will be waiting in the Crumpwood area to talk about some of the history and features of the canal and to explain work that has recently taken place, from a safe distance.

Image Bridge 70 during volunteer-led restoration

Additionally, in association with Lichfield Waterworks Trust, there will be a rare opportunity to see inside the historic pumping station at Crumpwood Weir. A fish pass was recently installed beneath this building and some of the original pumping gear removed as part of this project will be visible.

There is additional information on the new CUCT website. You might want to print this or have a smartphone available during your visit. For practical and social distancing reasons we cannot have Trust volunteers at all the sites of interest but there will be notices with information, some of which have QR code links to additional information on the website.

Access

Access to the sites is along the former railway track. Walk along the line from either Alton or Denstone until reaching milepost 23, roughly half way between the two villages. The walk from Alton is slightly shorter, but there is a good walk with things to see whichever direction you come from. Follow the signs and relaid towpath from here to the bridge, lock, weir and pumping station. Signposts will be in place and volunteers will be on hand to talk to visitors from a safe distance.

The weather forecast is good so why not enjoy the opportunity for a walk in the beautiful Churnet Valley and to see some of our projects.

Best regards
Steve

PS Also I suspect that the message may have reached a few people who were no longer on the mailing list so I apologise if you are one of these. I moved the website to new software recently and it seems that the routine that copied users from the old site did not distinguish between present and former subscribers, but it did exclude subscribers who joined the first version of this mailing list. You can use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email to remove yourself from these occasional messages if you want to, though you are of course welcome to stay and receive occasional updates about the Uttoxeter Canal.

CUCT Sat, 12/09/2020 - 07:32

Denstone

11 September 2020 - 10:12pm
Denstone CUCT Fri, 11/09/2020 - 22:12

Alton spill weir

11 September 2020 - 10:08pm
Alton spill weir CUCT Fri, 11/09/2020 - 22:08

Crumpwood Weir

11 September 2020 - 9:35pm
Crumpwood Weir CUCT Fri, 11/09/2020 - 21:35

Carrington’s Lock

11 September 2020 - 9:16pm
Carrington’s Lock CUCT Fri, 11/09/2020 - 21:16

Alton Tunnel

11 September 2020 - 7:42pm
Alton Tunnel CUCT Fri, 11/09/2020 - 19:42

Bridge 70

11 September 2020 - 7:21pm
Bridge 70 CUCT Fri, 11/09/2020 - 19:21

Uttoxeter Canal self-guided walk

9 September 2020 - 11:06pm
Uttoxeter Canal self-guided walk

Dear all

It has been several months since I was last in touch and our volunteer work parties have not yet resumed, but I am writing to let you know that this coming weekend we will be hosting a small event on the Uttoxeter Canal.

Members from the Trust will be waiting at key points along the canal between Denstone and Alton to talk about some of the history and features of the canal and to explain work that has recently taken place, from a safe distance.

Additionally, in association with Lichfield Waterworks Trust, there will be a rare opportunity to see inside the historic pumping station at Crumpwood Weir. A fish pass was recently installed beneath this building and some of the original pumping gear removed as part of this project will be visible.

We are hoping to have some good news for supporters who attend on Sunday, but it is a little premature to add it to this newsletter, so I do hope that some of you can make it to the site.

This event is being run in association with Heritage Open Days. There is additional information on the new CUCT website. A more detailed guide to the sites will be available via the website on the evening before the event. You might want to print this or have a copy available on a smartphone, to read as you visit.

Access

Access to the sites is along the former railway track. This is mostly grassed but can be a bit wet, depending on the weather, though at the time of writing the forecast is looking kind. it is approximately half an hour walk from either Alton or Denstone to Crumpwood.

Walk along the line from either Alton or Denstone until reaching milepost 23, roughly half way between the two villages. Follow the signs and relaid towpath from here to the bridge, lock, weir and pumping station. Signposts will be in place and volunteers will be on hand to guide visitors. There is an additional site closer to Alton, also accessed from the railway line and three mileposts along the route, all of which will be signposted with information provided, but will not manned.

Best regards
Steve

CUCT Wed, 09/09/2020 - 23:06

Uttoxeter Canal self-guided walk

28 August 2020 - 12:03pm
Uttoxeter Canal self-guided walk CUCT Fri, 28/08/2020 - 12:03

Learn about the Uttoxeter Canal on this self-guided walk. Members from Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and Inland Waterways Association North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch will be waiting at key points along the canal between Denstone and Alton to talk about some of the history and features of the canal and to explain work that has recently taken place on the Canal, from a safe distance.

Between 2012 and 2016, supported by our partners in the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership and the National Lottery, our volunteers have restored the last standing bridge on the canal, as well as relaying the adjacent section of towpath and reinstating the missing mileposts along the full 13 miles of the canal. Since these initial projects we have expanded our vision, opening out more than half a mile of canal and towpath as well as uncovering a buried lock and other structures. Trust volunteers will be on hand to explain our ideas for the next stage of this ambitious project.

Additionally, in association with Lichfield Waterworks Trust, there will be a rare opportunity to see inside the historic pumping station at Crumpwood Weir. A fish pass was recently installed beneath this building and some of the original pumping gear removed as part of this project will be visible.

Access

Access to the sites is along the former railway track. This is mostly grassed but can be a bit wet, depending on the weather. it is approximately half an hour walk from either Alton or Denstone to Crumpwood.

COVID-19 Considerations

This event will run in line with local & national government guidelines at the time of the festival. Our volunteers will be on hand in carefully selected locations where social distancing can easily be maintained

Directions

Walk along the former railway line from either Alton or Denstone until reaching milepost 23, roughly half way between the two villages. Follow the relaid towpath from here to the bridge, lock weir and pumping station. There is an additional site closer to Alton, also accessed from the railway line. Signposts will be in place and volunteers will be on hand to guide visitors.

Organised by

Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust / Inland Waterways Association / Lichfield Waterworks Trust

 

Event type Social event Event date Sun, 13/09/2020 - 13:00 - Sun, 13/09/2020 - 16:00

Cargo Boats On The Caldon Canal

28 June 2020 - 1:31pm
Cargo Boats On The Caldon Canal CUCT Sun, 28/06/2020 - 13:31

Your committee

24 June 2020 - 5:19pm
Your committee CUCT Wed, 24/06/2020 - 17:19

Trust hosts online AGM

29 May 2020 - 8:09am
Trust hosts online AGM CUCT Fri, 29/05/2020 - 08:09

Members of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust last night joined in with the Trust's first online AGM. Having been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the committee decided that using Zoom technology would allow the meeting to take place and meet the requirements of our constitution. Around 15 members took part in the meeting from their homes using computers and phones.

A key purpose of the meeting was for the committee to deliver, and for members to receive, the "Report and Financial Statements Year ended 31 December 2019", a copy of which can be read here. Chairman Steve Wood and Treasurer Chris Gurney summarised the report for members present.

The Chairman thanked all committee members for their contributions in various roles through the year, but in particular Philip Balfour who retired from committee on completion of the milepost project in 2019, as well as Maria & Robert Frost and Liz Quick who were stepping back from the committee at this meeting due to new family commitments.

Rob also stood back as a Trustee and Steve Wood was elected to replace him. Sue Dutton was reappointed as a Trustee for a further three year term. All other committee members agreed to stand again and committee roles will be agreed and confirmed at the next meeting.

The minutes of the AGM will be available at a later date. The Trust is to consider hosting a social meeting at a later date in particular to allow those members who were not able to participate in the online AGM to receive the annual report and ask any questions of the committee.

The meeting was followed by a presentation on progress with the Uttoxeter Canal restoration in 2019.

1970 Caldon Canal film now available

28 May 2020 - 6:57pm
1970 Caldon Canal film now available CUCT Thu, 28/05/2020 - 18:57

In 1970, a film "The Caldon Canal - a cut above the rest" was made about the Caldon Canal, for the then Caldon Canal Society. This follows a boat from Etruria along the the navigable section of the canal to Leek, then takes a look at the still unrestored canal from Hazelhurst Junction to Froghall.

You can view the 18 minute film on this website

Uttoxeter canal mileposts

28 May 2020 - 6:15pm
Uttoxeter canal mileposts CUCT Thu, 28/05/2020 - 18:15

The Caldon Canal - a cut above the rest

28 May 2020 - 9:21am
The Caldon Canal - a cut above the rest

This film was made for the Caldon Canal Society in 1970 and follows the canal from Etruria to Leek, as well as parts of the closed route from Hazelhurst Junction to Froghall.

CUCT Thu, 28/05/2020 - 09:21

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