Money for visitor attractions

Published: Thursday, 02 July 2009
THERE are proposals to get money to provide more visitor attraction on the Soar and Grand Union Canal through Leicestershire.

The Government is to be asked to provide cash to help add visitor features  to the waterways, with proposals being drawn up with the aim to get money from the Government.

Leicestershire County Council, Project Manager Andy Hayes, explained:

"While the river Soar and the canal are already fantastic features running through the county, and enjoyed by many people, there is a lot more we could do with it. It's an underused resource with massive potential to be developed for the people of Leicestershire."

British Waterways, The East Midlands Development Agency, The Environment Agency, The Waterways Trust and councils in areas through which the river and canal run, are working on an ambitious strategy for the coming years.

Andy Hayes pointed out they had many great ideas but needed cash to make them happen. He said they were considering a bid for £800,000 from the Government.

The strategy suggests developing a series of visitor focal points along the waterway through the county and city.

It proposes an aquatic life education centre and a floating stage for music and drama performances at the canal basin in Loughborough.  With other features such as improved parking at key sites on the waterway, and programmes of public entertainment events have been outlined.

However, boater Graham Chetwynd, suggested:

"I would say, however, that basics of looking after the river need to be improved—such as keeping the Soar clear of vegetation on the water and from overhanging trees. Most boaters will tell you that should be the number one priority."