Worcester & Birmingham Canal under threat

Published: Thursday, 25 June 2009

ENGLISH Heritage has pinpointed the Birmingham & Worcester Canal in Worcester at officially at risk of neglect, decay or damaging change, according to a national report.

Together with Lowesmoor, Alan Tilbury relates, the waterways passing through the city have been categorised as ‘at risk' in a new report released this week by English Heritage.

English Heritage recently carried out its first survey of the West Midlands' conservation areas, needing protection due to their unique character, with the waterway being amongst the 10% being under threat.

English Heritage's Historic Areas Adviser for the region, Michael Taylor, explained:

"The areas at risk are very significant parts of Worcester's overall historic environment and therefore part of the face the city presents to its own citizens and to visitors.

"The fact that here we have two of the best historic environments in the city, each at a degree of risk, is a matter for concern."

The heritage report defines the Birmingham & Worcester Canal through the city as suffering poor quality of building frontage, a lack of maintenance and graffiti in some places, with fears that it 'will deteriorate significantly over the next three years'.

The picture shows Lowesmoor Basin just off the canal on a short arm, that has been revitalised with the former derelict buildings removed.

A short-term solution suggested by English Heritage is that local volunteers or civic groups could help, with a council spokesman suggesting:

"Given the current financial constraints, it's probably quite unlikely that a clean-up of the canal will be much of a priority for the city council, and what we've tried to do in other areas is harness the energies of the local community.

"In the long-term, the solution probably lies with an upturn in the economy and getting some resources into improving the canal."