Closure by stealth

Published: Friday, 29 January 2021

Following up today's piece [Wednesday's] by James Henry, Andrew Claxby writes: 

I have to wonder are these random, 'Wildcat', stoppages part of a master plan?  Is it an attempt to dissuade boaters from using certain waterways prior to closure, which in turn may be a pre-cursor to turning them into cycle ways?

Back door deal with Sustrans?

Has CaRT done a back door deal with Sustrans?  Who knows.  However, boaters, in particular hire boat companies, are already reluctant to use certain northern canals as there is no telling when you may be able to complete the cruise or indeed get your boat back!

This is one aim of an authority following the 'closure by stealth' route; dissuade people from using the asset in question. Stage two, which can in actual fact run concurrently, is the Health and Safety 'weapon'.  The tactic here is to allow important assets to fall into disrepair and then claim that they need to be closed/demolished for 'safety reasons'.

An old trick

The above is an old trick, used way back by British Rail when it was seeking to close the Settle to Carlisle railway. The structure in question then was the Ribblehead Viaduct. 

Interestingly, that was in the mid 80's yet here we are 35 years later and the self same viaduct is still being used on a daily basis!

It seems then that the defects had been grossly exaggerated?

Capable of planning

I must say my only major doubt that there is a hidden agenda at CaRT Towers, is that I'm not sure that the said waterways authority (sic) is capable of planning a heavy drinking session in a brewery, let alone a coordinated closure by stealth plan.

I'll leave it up to you, dear reader, to make up your own mind, but as I have pointed out this sort of attempted closure of a national treasure has been tried before.  It is up to us, the boating community, to prevent it.