Fundraising Appeal Launched To Restore Canal’s Golden Mile
Conservative parliamentary candidate for Erewash, Maggie Throup, has officially launched Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust’s fundraising campaign to rebuild the first stretch of the former waterway and create a new visitor attraction.
A ¾ mile stretch of the canal in Draycott between Hopwell Road and Derby Road – known locally as the ‘Golden Mile’ - has been earmarked to be rebuilt into a level canal without locks.
The bentonite-lined canal will have a constant water depth of 1.2m with a weir created close to the Derby Road bridge to allow any excess water to flow down the existing drain.
Once completed, the ‘Golden Mile’ will have a slipway to allow canoes and boats access to the water with mooring points at each end.
The canal will be stocked with fish and angling facilities set up. There will be a hard-standing car park at Hopwell Road for the visitor attraction with a re-laid foot and cycle path as well as a grass track for horse riders.
The charity needs to demonstrate public support and is appealing for pledges totalling £100,000 before applying for grant funding to complete the £352,000 project.
A contractor has been identified and, once the money is raised, it is estimated that the work will take just 12 weeks to complete.
The original Derby Canal was completed in 1796 but was abandoned in the 1960s and filled in during the 1970s.
The Canal Trust was founded in 1993 with the aim of creating a new 25 mile cruising ring between Derby and Sandiacre, which would be connected to more than 2,000 miles of navigable waterways across the UK.
As well as restoring the canal, the ambitious programme includes creating a short canal stretch through Pride Park with an ‘arm’ lift to take boats down to the river level so that they can then travel up the Derwent to the Silk Mill in the city centre.
Trust volunteers have so far restored bridges at Swarkestone and Borrowash to the demanding heritage standards and undertaken hedge planting along the route so that it can be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists.
Chris Madge, Chairman of the Restoration Committee for the Trust, explained: “The Draycott ‘Golden Mile’ is the first stage of the overall vision to see the canal reinstated.
“A great deal of hard work has gone into getting us to this stage but now we have the stretch surveyed and priced, we’re raring to go.
“We’ve focused on this section as our first project to reinstate a stretch of canal as it is the most cost effective to deliver and we have very positive support from the local community.
“We are confident that the canal will become a real attraction locally and hopefully encourage more collaboration in future restorations.
“We need pledges of support from individuals, businesses and organisations at this stage which we will then call upon when the funding target has been reached and the construction work is scheduled to begin.”
Maggie Throup said: “To have the Derby and Sandiacre Canal re-established would be fantastic for our local community and for visitors alike.
“I hope that once people see that what is happening here, the other stages will come to fruition even quicker.
“People often say that if you stay around long enough, things come back into fashion. This will hopefully be the case with the canals just as we have seen with the return of the train station in nearby Ilkeston.”
Eddy Case is Vice Chairman of the Society and lives in Draycott. He concluded: “The ‘Golden Mile’ plans are another important stage in our partnership work with the local community in Draycott.
“The feedback from local residents and the Parish Council has been extremely positive and the village has effectively adopted this project as their canal.
“We have previously attracted a lot of support from local volunteers to plant a kilometre of hawthorn hedge to promote wildlife along the former canal and this was welcomed by local organisers who recently won a Gold medal in the Britain in Bloom Awards.
“The ‘Golden Mile’ will be a wonderful recreational resource for the local community. It will greatly support local businesses with increased visitor numbers and will improve the biodiversity of the area by attracting wildlife.”
Mr Madge concluded: “Cities such as Birmingham have recognised the value of maximising their canals’ potential for leisure use which has been an important catalyst for regenerating the city centre.
“We hope to do the same for the urban and rural areas around the canal. The ‘Golden Mile’ is therefore an important first part of our overall programme to create a fantastic leisure resource for the local area.”
The Trust is looking for public donations in the form of pledges. The Trust will take details from any supporter and only call for the money when the balance has been raised. Pledge forms are available from http://derbycanal.org.uk/activities/the-draycott-project