Eight miles to go for Chesterfield’s Canal regeneration
There are more than 2,000 miles of navigable inland waterways in Britain and there are soon to be eight more thanks to the work of the Chesterfield Canal Trust.
Since 1976 the Trust has worked tirelessly to renovate and refurbish all 46 miles of the Chesterfield canal, which runs from West Stockwith on the River Trent to Chesterfield. When the remaining eight miles are brought back to use, thanks to the Trust’s Closing the Gap campaign, it will be for the first time in over one hundred years that the full length of the canal is navigable.
The canal was originally constructed and devised by James Brindley in 1772, to compensate for Chesterfield’s poor transport links. Fast forward 250 years and Chesterfield now has some of the best road and rail transport links in the country with Chesterfield’s mainline station being right on the doorstep of the £75million Basin Square development at Chesterfield Waterside.
The £75million Basin Square neighbourhood at Chesterfield Waterside became home to a brand new canal basin in 2009, thanks to £2.4million of grant funding from Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. The new basin, built on the site of Arnold Laver's 15-acre former Timber World, now connects the main canal restoration and the River Rother.
Work on the hotel, apartments, offices retail outlets and restaurants at Basin Square is expected to start next year and will create a thriving new destination within Chesterfield.
Running alongside the canal is the 220-year-old tow path, known as Cuckoo Way. It spans the full 46 miles of the canal and was named by Ordinance Survey as one of the finest canal walks in the country.
Research by the University of Northampton found that canals increase the number of walkers, cyclists and kayakers boosting the local economy by between 15 and 25 per cent.
The Trust's volunteers have built the brand new Staveley Town Lock, which opened this May. Much of the funding has come from Derbyshire County Council, but the Trust has spent more than £100,000 on the project, £45,000 from a public appeal.
Once the restoration is complete there are plans to have canal boating festivals, fun runs, event screens and food festivals at Basin Square, making the new neighbourhood a busy commercial and residential environment contributing to Chesterfield’s local economy.
An assessment undertaken by Gibb Ltd, a firm of architects, in 2001 found that the complete restoration of the canal would net more than £3million per year in tourism income, create 1,000 permanent jobs and a further 1,700 temporary jobs.
Peter Swallow, Director of Bolsterstone the company behind Chesterfield Waterside, explained: “The canal is an important part of Chesterfield. It is beneficial for the development both as a historic aspect, but also to its future economic fortunes as it will bring an increased level of footfall to the town.”
The canal was originally designed by James Brindley. Another of his canals can be found in Birmingham city centre alongside the award winning Brindleyplace development which has inspired the design of Chesterfield Waterside.
Brindleyplace pioneered the concept of mixed-use developments in city centres, showing that they really can work if attention is given to the interaction of people and places.
BrindleyPlace is a high quality mixed-use development and covers 26 acres of land adjacent to the International Convention Centre (ICC). The development took 15 years to build and turned a former derelict wasteland into a city hub for restaurants, offices and apartments.
Today, more than 8,500 people work in Brindleyplace for some of the UK’s leading businesses, and it is a thriving and vibrant location both throughout the daytime and evening. The estate has been described as one of the most impressive and successful inner city mixed-use developments in the country.
Peter Swallow added: “Having the canal right next to the development was an opportunity to emulate the success of Brindleyplace in Birmingham. Not only will we create a thriving new neighbourhood that the town will benefit from, but an historic and beautiful canal will be brought back into use.”
As well as 310 apartments, shops, 2,500sqm of office space and a hotel, Basin Square will also be home to the iconic Rosewall sculpture; a fitting home for it as its creator Dame Barbara Hepworth intended it to be viewed over water.
Find out more about the Chesterfield Canal Trust, go to http://www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk To help with the further development of the canal, and donate to the construction of the Staveley lock, visit: http://goo.gl/cqTd4L or to donate to the Chesterfield Canal Trust, visit: http://goo.gl/Yl5rQa.