Death knell for Stroudwater?

Published: Friday, 25 March 2011

IN VIEW of the drastic cuts in services, local councils are requesting Stroud District Council that is giving millions to the restoration of the Stroudwater Canal, to spend the money on local services instead.

It was first British Waterways that withdrew from the Cotswold Canal restoration that hit the project, but Stroud District Council stepped into the breach providing funds, as did others, Alan Tilbury reminds us.

Defer the project

But yesterday there was another call to halt funding, this time by the residents of Wotton-under-Edge, with both the residents and councillors at the Annual Parish Assembly voting to write to Stroud District Council to request the authority defer the £11 millions it is giving towards the  canal restoration project, but to put money back into communities hit by the cuts.

Town Mayor Dr John Cordwell stated almost everyone at the meeting agreed that the canal would not have any benefits for Wotton, and the money would be better spent helping the town through the government cuts, explaining:

"It would be nice to see the canal opened up, I hope it will be done one day. But when we are strapped for cash it seems wrong for them to plough money into it."

"We do realise they may be tied into contracts, but this was about making a protest against it. People in the town are particularly worried about the cuts to our services."

Major restoration

The Stroudwater Canal project has been billed as a major restoration and regeneration project that would bring jobs and tourism to the whole district.

However many people in Wotton felt the scheme would have no direct benefit to them. This is the first council to object to funding for the restoration of the waterway, but we have been told that 'others are in the pipeline'.