No lottery grant for Wappenshall Wharf project

Published: Monday, 17 July 2017

THOUGH the Telford Support Group, part of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, was awarded £95,000 towards its Wappenshall Wharf project in January of this year, the funders have now put the award on hold.

The funding was jointly provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and by DEFRA, through the Rural Payments Agency, towards the Thomas Telford Wappenshall Wharf project. The picture below shows the warehouses and the bridge on the far right that was the line of the now disused canal.

wappenshall wharfCannot support the project

But the The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has decided that, for the moment, it cannot support the project with the significant grant that it needs.

The Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trus originally bid for a £1 million grant from the HLF for the project in 2014 and was awarded a £70,000 Round 1 grant to work up its proposals, ready for a Round 2 bid for the balance.

Raised £500,000

The Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust eventually raised some £500,000 in matched funding but, by that time the Round 2 bid had been deferred twice. By the time that the Round 2 bid was submitted these deferrals meant that the costs had increased due to inflation and the worked up plans for the project had revealed that more restoration of the two warehouses was needed than was originally been estimated. Jointly these two cost increases meant that the Trust had to increase its grant request to the HLF to £1.3 million.

In its letter informing the Trust of the result, the HLF advised that the committee recognised the rarity and significance of the site and its buildings. It noted the need to conserve this nationally significant example of our industrial heritage and to find a long term beneficial use.

Understood the progress

It also noted the commitment, knowledge, experience and skills of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, and understood the progress the Trust has made to raise funds and build partnerships so far. However there remained a large uplift request and some aspects of, particularly, the business plan were high risk and felt to be overly optimistic.

At its next trustees meeting of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust the issues will be fully debated and the future direction of the trust will be decided.