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Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Today's Uttoxeter Canal work party cancelled

21 November 2022 - 8:58am
Today's Uttoxeter Canal work party cancelled

Today's work party has been cancelled due to heavy rain expected across the area all day.  We hope to arrange a replacement date on a Monday between now and Christmas.  If you would like to join in please can you contact Alison Smedley allie.smedley@waterways.org.uk or phone her on 07779 090915 with your availability, and we will choose the date that suits most people.

CUCT Mon, 21/11/2022 - 08:58

Uttoxeter Canal work party, 21st November

10 November 2022 - 2:22pm
Uttoxeter Canal work party, 21st November

A reminder about the next Uttoxeter Canal work party taking place on Monday 21st November, from 10am to 3pm, where we will be working in the vicinity of Bridge 70.  There is no parking is available on site so please meet at Bridge 70 at 10am having made your own way on foot. The site is just over 1 mile along the old railway track from either Denstone or Alton.  Take the footpath which leaves the railway track by the canal milepost, and continue along the track towards the old pumping station.   The OS grid reference is SK 091 427. The What3Words location is ///caller.traps.midwinter.

If you are thinking of coming along, or would like any additional information, please contact: Alison Smedley by phone: 01538 385388 or email: allie.smedley@waterways.org.uk

While emailing, you might also like to be aware that IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, who we jointly hold these work parties with, has its next social meeting with an illustrated talk, this coming Friday, 11th November.  The meeting is at Stoke on Trent Boat Club in Endon where we will hear from Stafford Riverway Link, so do come along and hear about what another Staffordshire restoration project has been up to.  The following meeting is on Friday 9th December where we will hear about the work of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, yet another Staffordshire-based waterway restoration.    Doors open at 7.45pm with the talk starting at 8pm.  From ST9 9DU on Post Lane, Endon, approach the Boat Club through the gates (please close the gates behind you).  There is plenty of car parking and reasonably accessible access.

 

CUCT Thu, 10/11/2022 - 14:22

Next Uttoxeter Canal work party and an invitation...

12 October 2022 - 11:55am
Next Uttoxeter Canal work party and an invitation...

A reminder about the next Uttoxeter Canal work party - on Monday 17th October, from 10am to 3pm, where we will be working in the vicinity of Carrington’s Lock.  No parking is available on site so please meet at Carrington’s Lock at 10am having made your own way on foot. The site is just over 1 mile along the old railway track from either Denstone or Alton.  Take the footpath to Bridge 70 which leaves the railway track by the canal milepost, and continue along the track towards the old pumping station.   The OS grid reference is SK 093 424.  The What3Words (what3words.com) location is ///outbound.courier.fever.

If you are thinking of coming along, or would like any additional information, please contact: Alison Smedley by phone: 01538 385388 or email: allie.smedley@waterways.org.uk

While emailing, you might also like to be aware that IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, who we jointly hold these work parties with, has its first social meeting of the season, with an illustrated talk, this coming Friday, 14th October.  The meeting, at Stoke on Trent Boat Club in Endon will hear from Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) about their activities.  WRG have been regular visitors to the Uttoxeter Canal over the years so come along and find out more about what they do on canal restoration sites around the country.  Doors open at 7.45pm with the talk starting at 8pm.  From ST9 9DU on Post Lane, Endon, approach the Boat Club through the gates (please close the gates behind you).  There is plenty of car parking and reasonably accessible access.

WRG volunteers at Bridge 70 in April 2016

 

CUCT Wed, 12/10/2022 - 11:55

Uttoxeter Canal work party cancelled

21 July 2022 - 9:23pm
Uttoxeter Canal work party cancelled

Unfortunately due our work party leader testing positive for COVID, the planned activity next Monday, 25th July, has been cancelled.

Thanks to those who were planning to attend and we hope to see you at our next one. As previously reported, we will take a holiday break in August, and details of the September work party will be confirmed as soon as possible.

CUCT Thu, 21/07/2022 - 21:23

Uttoxeter Canal work parties relaunched

26 May 2022 - 10:58pm
Uttoxeter Canal work parties relaunched

We are pleased to announce the relaunch of a monthly work party on the Uttoxeter Canal, working between Alton and Crumpwood.

The first work party will be on Monday 20th June, between 10am and 4pm, where we will be working from the Alton end.  The meeting point is close to Alton Station on Farley Lane, very close to Alton Towers. For those using satnav, use ST10 4BY. The work site is a short walk from this spot. There is parking off-road down a slope parallel to the railway, opposite the station. Please do not block the parking at the station, which is used by Landmark Trust guests.

All tools and equipment will be provided. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes, stout shoes and to bring waterproofs in case of rain and a packed lunch if staying all day.

This activity is jointly led by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. For more information, please contact allie.smedley@waterways.org.uk, who will be leading the work party.

 

Future work parties will take place once a month, on a Monday, other than in August when as previously we will take a summer holiday break. The July work party will be at Crumpwood, in the Bridge 70 area on Monday, 25th July. More details to follow at a later date.

CUCT Thu, 26/05/2022 - 22:58

Annual General Meeting

6 February 2022 - 3:57pm
Annual General Meeting CUCT Sun, 06/02/2022 - 15:57 NOTICE

The Annual General Meeting of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust (Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Registered Charity No. 1156812) will be held on Thursday 31st March, 2022 starting at 7.30 pm at Stoke on Trent Boat Club, Post Lane, Endon, Stoke on Trent, ST9 9DT

AGENDA
  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. To note the minutes of the AGM of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust held on 16th April, 2021
  3. Annual Report
  4. Treasurer’s Report & Annual Statement of Accounts
  5. Re-election of Trustees retiring by rotation – Peter Matthews and Alison Smedley
  6. Election of committee members (officers posts will be agreed at the first meeting after the AGM)
  7. Motions; None
  8. Any Other Business

Followed by a slide show ‘Impressions from the Archives’

Crumpwood Heritage Open Day

15 November 2021 - 8:22pm
Crumpwood Heritage Open Day CUCT Mon, 15/11/2021 - 20:22

On Saturday 18th September a team of volunteers from Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch were on hand at Crumpwood in Staffordshire, to talk to visitors during a self-guided walk along the Uttoxeter Canal between Alton and Denstone.

The event was organised as part of the national Heritage Open Days week.  Visitors arrived on foot following signage and a route description which was available online. Along the route were additional displays about current projects and future aspirations.  Guided trips to look at the flood lock, cleared of its vegetation in recent years by volunteers from CUCT and Waterway Recovery Group, took place throughout the day.

This was a rare opportunity to look at the remains of the flood lock and the weir stonework on that side of the river, not normally accessible by the public.

Press Release - Uttoxeter Canal Saved After Planning Application Refused

13 September 2021 - 8:33pm
Press Release - Uttoxeter Canal Saved After Planning Application Refused CUCT Mon, 13/09/2021 - 20:33

Volunteers from two charities, the local Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, and the country-wide Inland Waterways Association, are celebrating after SMDC’s Planning Applications Committee turned down proposals for a development which would have blocked restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal in the Churnet Valley.

The first lock and basin of the canal at Froghall were restored in 2005 in a partnership project between volunteers, British Waterways and local authorities, backed by European funding.   The site proposed for development is immediately adjacent to this popular location, which is always busy with visiting boaters, tourists and walkers.  With no route allowed in the plans for future restoration of the canal, the development would have prevented the rest of the Uttoxeter Canal from ever joining on to the navigable Caldon Canal and 2700 miles of inland waterways. 

The development proposal was for 48 new houses and restoration of a Listed farmhouse, partially on a greenfield site which has not been allocated for housing in the Local Plan.  Both the Local Plan and its associated Churnet Valley Masterplan specifically state that any development should not prejudice potential reinstatement of the route of the Uttoxeter Canal, with a strip of land allocated for the future restoration of the canal along with a route for walking, cycling and horse riding. 

The Planning Applications Committee were unanimous in refusing the application, for a wide range of reasons including: the application not meeting the aspirations for mixed use of the site; flood and transport concerns; the integrity of the adjacent Caldon Canal embankment; the appropriateness of the design of the houses for a rural location; and the harm to the future restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal.  

A study commissioned by the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust in 2009 concluded that it would be feasible to restore the Uttoxeter Canal between Froghall and Denstone, which would open up more of the Churnet Valley for recreation.  Since then, a number of volunteer-led projects have been completed further down the valley, including several in partnership with SMDC and others as part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership.

Over 300 objections were submitted to the application, with many wanting to protect the line of the canal and see it restored.  The decision by the Planning Committee means that in the future the Churnet Valley will be able to realise the benefits that waterway restoration can bring to a local area.  These are well documented and include improved health and recreation opportunities for communities, and financial benefits to local economies through tourism, employment and regeneration, according to The Inland Waterways Association.

The two waterway charities have been campaigning about the impact the development would have on the canal restoration since the planning application was first placed 7 months ago, and were overwhelmed by the support from local communities plus boaters and people from across the country. Well known canal supporters Sir David and Lady Sheila Suchet lent their voices to the campaign, and in their roles as Vice Presidents of national charity The Inland Waterways Association  (IWA) will be delighted to share the news far and wide.   Alison Smedley MBE, Deputy Chair of IWA’s North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, said, The Planning Applications Committee’s recognition of the importance of safeguarding a route to reinstate the Uttoxeter Canal, and acknowledging the many opportunities to use it as part of green infrastructure plans, well-being and tourism, is another milestone in the progress of this waterway restoration.”

Rupert Smedley, who spoke on behalf of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust at the Planning Applications Committee meeting, said “We are so relieved. There is no other viable route available for the canal – the alternatives put forward by the developer simply don’t stack up.  We don’t object to the site being developed as allocated in the Local Plan, provided the development allows for the future restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal and also doesn’t undermine the stability of the Caldon Canal embankment and its retaining wall.”

Julie Arnold, a vice chairman of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals, said “An opportunity exists for the developers to embrace the canal and benefit from it throughout the former Boltons Copperworks site. Examples exist across the country and within Staffordshire where developers have done just this, such as in Lichfield, and we remain very willing to meet with the developers to discuss alternative plans for the site that would allow for the future restoration of the canal”. 

Anyone wishing to learn more about the history and restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal is encouraged to attend the open day being held by Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch at Crumpwood on Saturday 18th September, as part of the Heritage Open Days events, details available here.

Uttoxeter Canal walk

9 September 2021 - 8:58pm
Uttoxeter Canal walk CUCT Thu, 09/09/2021 - 20:58

Learn about the Uttoxeter Canal with this self-guided walk. Members from Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and Inland Waterways Association North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch will be waiting at Crumpwood Weir, 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.

A walking guide along the Uttoxeter Canal may be downloaded from our Mileposts page.

This event is supported by Heritage Open Days.

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.

Approaching from Alton, the main points of interest are at

From Denstone you will see

Having reached Milepost 23, follow the relaid towpath to the other points of interest

Froghall planning application refused

9 September 2021 - 8:50pm
Froghall planning application refused CUCT Thu, 09/09/2021 - 20:50

Good news - the planning application which would have blocked the future restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal at Froghall was unanimously rejected by SMDC's Planning Applications Committee this afternoon.

Rupert Smedley represented CUCT and IWA as one of the objectors speaking against the application, and there was a very robust recommendation for refusal by the planning officers.

The councillors voted to reject the proposal on a number of grounds, one of which being the future restoration of the canal. Many thanks to everyone who has supported our cause and sent in their own objections over the last six months.

Froghall planning application - latest updates

12 July 2021 - 3:54pm
Froghall planning application - latest updates CUCT Mon, 12/07/2021 - 15:54

The developer recently submitted a number of fairly detailed additional documents rubbishing the viability of the restoration and suggesting that it can be ignored, or that the restored canal could take a different route through Froghall. Unfortunately this is broadly untrue. The canal could not drop into the river through the area as it is too narrow, windy and fast flowing, even under normal conditions. It also regularly floods and at time this can be 2m or more. The river sections of the Caldon Canal at Consall and at Crumpwood on the Uttoxeter Canal were able to be made navigable because the river is much wider and deeper, and the valley flatter, so the flow is much slower. It is unfortunate that basic details like this were not checked with us by the applicant.

The Trust would be more than happy to discuss any aspects of the proposal, including a small deviation for the line of the canal, which would simplify the crossing under the A52. Indeed the Trust first suggested this more than a decade ago, and raised it again when the Chunet Valley Masterplan was being developed. Unfortunately to date the developer has chosen not to talk with the Trust on the details of this application other than to use our 2009 feasibility study and other documentation which have been very selectively quoted in an attempt to justify their proposal to build on the line of the canal. The Trust is supportive of the principle of regeneration in Froghall, which remains the terminus of the Caldon Canal and as such is a destination for visitors arriving along both the canal and nearby railway. Appropriate redevelopment would bring significant benefits, clean up an eyesore whilst dealing with this heavily contaminated post-industrial area.

As a result of the new documents submitted, and also for scheduling reasons the application committee date has been put back a number of times. The window for comments is extended each time the date changes, so at present people can respond on the website until 27th July, with the application currently due to go to committee on 12th August. Here's the link to the main application.

We are nudging towards 300 objections at present, both from local people and the wider waterways community. There are some really good points in the recent CRT and IWA responses that people might want to refer to, both written after consultation with ourselves and we fully endorse everything that has been said. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the most recent submissions and responses.

As well as our specific interest in the canal there are other very good planning reasons why this application should be opposed. You can read more about these in many of the responses to the application but the main points are the failure to deal with severe ground contamination, the lack of infrastructure and public transport in Froghall, over-development of a rural village contrary to the local plan, loss of historic open space and harm to the setting of the listed building. These are just a few of the reasons which we have cause to believe that this application must be rejected.

We were recently fortunate in getting the support of David and Sheila Suchet, and our press release made the front page lead in the local paper a couple of weeks ago, as well as being picked up in media elsewhere. Thanks to them and indeed to everyone for your support, we are far from done and dusted on this and every bit of support is helpful.


Steve Wood
Chairman, Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust

Poirot Actor Sir David Suchet condemns Froghall developers’ lack of vision for Uttoxeter Canal restoration

29 June 2021 - 9:29pm
Poirot Actor Sir David Suchet condemns Froghall developers’ lack of vision for Uttoxeter Canal restoration CUCT Tue, 29/06/2021 - 21:29

Sir David and Lady Suchet have joined Staffordshire Moorlands residents, parish councils and canal volunteers in voicing their concerns about development proposals that would prevent further restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal at Froghall and kill opportunities to extend safe walking and cycling routes, create wildlife corridors and grow sustainable tourism.

Actor David Suchet, world renowned as Agatha Christie’s detective Poirot, is passionate about canals and rivers, their history and the environmental, well-being and economic benefits they offer. He has a strong interest in waterway restoration schemes throughout the UK; horrified to learn what is at risk in the Churnet Valley, he contacted the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust.

Now Sir David and Lady Sheila Suchet add their voices to hundreds who have written to object to a planning application that would see an executive housing development built at Froghall, effectively severing the derelict Uttoxeter Canal from linking into the Caldon Canal and onward to the inland waterways network. The scheme for 49 houses on the land between Froghall basin and the A52 covers the route of the historic canal. It has been drawn up as further down the Churnet Valley volunteers are hard at work uncovering the waterway’s rich heritage, restoring structures and managing the environment in consultation with wildlife experts and landowners.

Sir David explains, “The waterways of Britain have been an important part of my life since my wife and I bought our first narrowboat back in 1974. Over the years, it has been a privilege to lend my support to restoration societies across the UK. These groups work tirelessly to bring rivers and canals back to their former glory in order to protect our heritage. As Vice Presidents of the Inland Waterways Association that protects and restores Britain’s canals and navigable rivers - and also of Staffordshire’s Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust – we have experienced working alongside restoration volunteers firsthand. I have learned just how many years these restoration projects can take to progress and the value of milestone projects along the way.”

Focussing on the Staffordshire Moorlands, residents may remember how the volunteers of the Caldon Canal Society fought to bring the Caldon Canal back to life in 1974 after it fell derelict in the 1960s. Another restoration milestone was delivered in 2005 when the first lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal at Froghall were reopened - a £625k project delivered by the Society’s volunteers working in partnership with British Waterways and local authorities and backed by the European Regional Development Fund and Single Regeneration Budget.

The volunteer charity then changed its name to the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust (CUCT) looking to preserve the line of the Uttoxeter Canal and maintain in good order the structures and lengths of canal that still exist. In 2009, with the support of Staffordshire County Council, a study was undertaken that concluded the restoration of the canal is feasible.

The Uttoxeter Canal restoration achieved more milestones when CUCT became part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership, delivering record numbers of volunteering days which helped release over £2 million of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other charitable funding. CUCT volunteers reinstated traditional cast iron mileposts to form the basis of a Uttoxeter Canal heritage trail through the Churnet Valley and onward to Uttoxeter itself. They also restored Bridge 70, the last standing stone bridge over the canal between Alton and Denstone, which carries a well-used public footpath. This was achieved with the support of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council who carried out a compulsory purchase order on the bridge before work could take place as no owner could be identified. The bridge was then sold to CUCT for a nominal sum.

The Trust’s volunteers continue to work in this section of the Churnet Valley conserving more of the canal’s structure, uncovering towpaths loved by walkers and creating a thriving wildlife corridor through careful woodland management - all supported by the RSPB and landowners.

David Suchet is distraught that the landowners proposing the development at Froghall cannot see the consequences of their current plans. He explains: “I worked on IWA’s “Waterways in Progress” report which describes how restoration schemes are not just a means to an end; they have a life of their own and can bring quantifiable benefits at every stage! New towpaths for walking and cycling have wellbeing benefits. So does participating in the restoration itself, along with bringing opportunities to develop new skills and friendships. New community places bring people together and build a sense of pride. Enhancing heritage and wildlife habitats in turn delivers environmental benefits for all. Restoration can go hand in hand with regeneration and tourism that helps boost the local economy; evidence suggests that developers can benefit from a 15-20% uplift in value of waterside properties by incorporating a restored canal into plans for a site!”

Steve Wood is chairman of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and describes what else the Trust has been working on: “We have been exploring creating a walking and cycling route along the length of the Uttoxeter Canal utilising as much of the original towpath as possible, particularly between Froghall Basin and Oakamoor as much of the canal exists alongside the old railway route. Studies show this would be a very good opportunity to improve accessibility and connectivity within the Churnet Valley and make a high contribution to sustainable tourism. These studies form the evidence base of the SMDC Local Plan adopted in September 2020.

“We were devastated to see this planning application submitted without being invited by the developer to explore how the Uttoxeter Canal corridor could be used to enhance the potential of the whole site at this critical Froghall gateway between the Caldon Canal conservation area and the Churnet Valley. Their application argues that the Churnet Valley Master Plan is only a Supplementary Planning Document for guidance. However there is clear basis in the main adopted SMDC Local Plan for expecting development of this site to make proper provision for the future restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal – and the SMDC planning committee must have regard for this when they make their decision.”

Sir David agrees: “I urge the landowners and developers to look around Britain’s inland waterways to see the magic that can be created by visionary groups of volunteers and the charities who are determined to make a difference to our waterways. Any development should not prejudice potential reinstatement of the route of the Uttoxeter Canal.”

Images - used by permission
  • David Suchet as Poirot © ITC PLC 2020
  • Sir David & Lady Sheila Suchet afloat © David Suchet
  • David Suchet steering narrowboat © Waterway Images

Volunteer work party

23 June 2021 - 12:01am
Volunteer work party CUCT Wed, 23/06/2021 - 00:01

After a very long break due to COVID, we are tentatively making a start with work parties again on Friday, 25th June, with a Himalayan Balsam bashing session near to Bridge 70 at Crumpwood.

We do have some COVID-related restrictions on the activity with the obvious one being that we will need to meet on site, not in Denstone as we cannot allow people to share vehicles unless they have arrived together. As regular volunteers will know, we cannot cope with more than a couple of vehicles on site so we ask attendees to walk from either Denstone or Alton if you are able to.

Meet on site at Bridge 70 at 10am having made your own way on foot. The site is a little over a mile walk down the old railway track from either Denstone or Alton. When you see the new section of towpath next to milepost 23, walk down this to the bridge. Please contact me if you need to bring a vehicle to site. We will need to ensure that access for South Staffs Water vehicles is maintained throughout the day, so may need to turn people back if too many vehicles turn up.

The session will run from 10 - 3, please bring your own lunch and drinks, if staying for the day. You are more than welcome to come for just an hour or two if you want to. Please bring your own gloves if you can. We will not be handing out hi-viz jackets or asking volunteers to sign in on this occasion, though I will be recording emergency contact numbers for everyone as they arrive. Please note that there are no refreshment facilities or toilets on site, as we do not have use of the SSW toilet at the Weir on this occasion.

If you have any questions please phone me, Steve Wood, on 07976 805858 or email steve.wood@waterways.org.uk

Uttoxeter Canal update

22 June 2021 - 10:17am
Uttoxeter Canal update

Dear all

It's been a while since I have been in touch but as you may have already seen on social media we are tentatively making a start with work parties again this Friday, 25th June, with a Himalayan Balsam bashing session near to Bridge 70  at Crumpwood. We joined an enjoyable evening session on the Caldon at Deep Hayes led by Canal & River Trust last week and are hoping that some of their volunteers will join us for this session as well.

This will be a fairly easy way to get us back into the swing, where we can easily maintain social distancing and not need to use or share tools. It would be great to see as many of you as possible, not least so that we can discuss what sort of activities people are keen and comfortable to do in future months. I'd also appreciate comments on when people would like to do work parties. My own work-related availability means that I can only run them on Monday or Friday for the foreseeable future. Which would suit you best? Conversely, would anyone else like to offer themselves up to lead the group on other days of the week? it would be great if we could get back to doing work parties several times a month, especially as we start to catch up on vegetation management after more than a year away from the site.

We do have some COVID-related restrictions on Friday's activity with the obvious one being that we will need to meet on site, not in Denstone as we cannot allow people to share vehicles unless they have arrived together. As regular volunteers will know, we cannot cope with more than a couple of vehicles on site so we ask attendees to walk from either Denstone or Alton if you are able to.

Meet on site at Bridge 70 at 10am having made your own way on foot. The site is a little over a mile walk down the old railway track from either Denstone or Alton. When you see the new section of towpath next to milepost 23, walk down this to the bridge. Please contact me if you need to bring a vehicle to site. We will need to ensure that access for South Staffs Water vehicles is maintained throughout the day, so may need to turn people back if too many vehicles turn up.

Please bring your own gloves if you can. We will not be handing out hi-viz jackets on this occasion

The session will run from 10 - 3, please bring your own lunch and drinks, if staying for the day. You are more than welcome to come for just an hour or two if you want to. If you have any questions please phone me, Steve Wood, on 07976 805858 or email steve.wood@waterways.org.uk.

Froghall housing

We've had lots of questions about the Froghall planning application, which has been deferred a number of times and has now been pushed back to the July committee meeting. The applicant has recently submitted over 50 pages of new documentation dismissing the viability of restoring the canal and suggesting a number of rather unlikely alternative routes through Froghall. We are still working on our response to this, which will be added to our website in the next few days.

You can of course still respond to the latest documents online or by sending an email to the local authority planning@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk. Scroll down past over 250 objections, to the bottom of the page and look at the documents dated 03/06/2021.

Note there are two applications, the main planning application, SMD/2020/0684 and related listed building consent, SMD/2020/0685, but you can send a single email to comment on both. The key one to respond to is the planning application.

Comments should be in by 29th June, which is a week today, but we would not be surprised if the submission deadline was extended again.

Best regards
Steve

CUCT Tue, 22/06/2021 - 10:17

Bringing the Uttoxeter Canal Back to Life

13 March 2021 - 1:16am
Bringing the Uttoxeter Canal Back to Life

Steve Wood, Chairman of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust tells how the canal came to be built, why it closed less than 40 years later, and progress made by volunteers who started restoring the canal in 2002.

Recording of Zoom talk, 12th March 2021.

CUCT Sat, 13/03/2021 - 01:16

Bringing the Uttoxeter Canal Back to Life (illustrated talk)

9 March 2021 - 8:46am
Bringing the Uttoxeter Canal Back to Life (illustrated talk)

Dear all

This Friday evening I will be giving an online talk, looking at how the Uttoxeter Canal came to be built, why it closed less than 40 years later, and progress made by volunteers who started restoring the canal in 2002. With so much recent discussion about the future of the restoration, due to the proposals which would block the line of the canal in Froghall, it is an interesting time to look back at what has been achieved so far on the Uttoxeter Canal.

Register for free in advance (numbers are limited) https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0hUo3HsQToWF8DtF1ct-PA

Thank you to those you you who have been in touch, or have already responded to the planning applications at Froghall. A significant number of objections have been registered so far, but that is no reason for us to be complacent, as there are also supportive responses from those keen to see the brownfield parts of this site regenerated, and who perhaps do not understand the implications for our project. If you have a few minutes you can respond to the applications online or by sending an email to the local authority planning@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk. Note there are two applications, the main planning application, SMD/2020/0684 and related listed building consent, SMD/2020/0685, but you can send a single email to comment on both.

There are a couple of news articles on our website about the application which you may wish to consult before responding by following this link. I'm happy to respond to any questions, which you can send by simply replying to this email.

Comments need to be in by 23rd March, so around a fortnight.

Best regards
Steve

CUCT Tue, 09/03/2021 - 08:46

Bringing the Uttoxeter Canal Back to Life (illustrated talk)

9 March 2021 - 8:36am
Bringing the Uttoxeter Canal Back to Life (illustrated talk) CUCT Tue, 09/03/2021 - 08:36

Steve Wood, Chairman of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust tells how the canal came to be built, why it closed less than 40 years later, and progress made by volunteers who started restoring the canal in 2002.

With so much recent discussion about the future of the restoration, due to a planning application which would block the line of the canal in Froghall, it is an interesting time to look back at what has been achieved so far on the Uttoxeter Canal.

Register for free in advance (numbers are limited) https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0hUo3HsQToWF8DtF1ct-PA

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

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