A vision for 2026 for the canal

Published: Thursday, 03 September 2009

NOTWITHSTANDING the recession, the plan to restore the Wilts and Berks Canal through Swindon is still alive, though now in the town's 2026 vision.

Regular readers will know this venture to take the waterway through the town centre has been controversial, but it is still included in Swindon Council's 'draft core strategy—a vision for the town in 2026'.

Council leader Rod Bluh, a firm supporter of the scheme, maintains that work was still underway to secure funding for the project, but his administration was still committed to the scheme in principle.

The project attracted controversy last year when details were first made public, but according to Keith Dowdy, Chairman of the Swindon branch of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, feeling towards the scheme has changed, remarking:

"People coming into our shop in Theatre Square have been quite positive. When they come to us they get the truth and then they understand a lot more about it. A lot of the negative comments we got were based on flawed logic.


"People seemed to be under the impression that this would just be a cul-de-sac of water in the town centre, whereas the canal would link up with the national network."

The present estimated cost of the waterway is £75 millions, with council officers investigating how funding could be secured.