Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Nottingham City Council approves £106,000 grant for Castle Lock canal towpath improvements

Nottingham City Council has given the green light to a grant funding agreement with the Canal and River Trust.

This decision aims to bring about significant improvements to the Nottingham-Beeston Canal towpath, particularly around the Castle Lock area.

The grant, valued at up to £106,000, falls under the capital expenditure category and is managed by the Growth and City Development Department. Anne-Marie Barclay, Senior Project Manager for Major Projects, is overseeing the initiative.

Background and Rationale

The Department for Transport (DfT) recently extended the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) Programme to March 2024.

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With some elements of the original programme deemed undeliverable, the DfT encouraged the development of “quick-win” schemes that could be executed within the 2023/24 timeframe. Instead of introducing entirely new projects, the council reviewed existing ones to maximize benefits.

The Beeston Canal has seen several enhancements, with the latest phase completed in June.

The upcoming phase will focus on the Castle Lock area, a popular section for both pedestrians and cyclists.

The Canal and River Trust identified issues with deteriorating wash walls, causing water to spill onto the towpath, posing risks to users.

Given the land ownership by the Canal and River Trust, the council proposes a Grant Funding Agreement, allowing the Trust to execute the project using their contractors.

Significance of the Canal

The canal is a vital part of Nottingham’s strategic cycle network, promoted as a leisure route for walking and cycling under the “Big Track” banner. It’s a well-utilised asset in the city centre, with potential growth due to upcoming developments like the Island Quarter, Inland Revenue, and Broad Marsh.

Other Considered Options

The council weighed up several alternatives before settling on this decision:

  1. Do Nothing: This was dismissed as the need for improvements was evident, and funding was available through the TCF Programme.
  2. Use Internal NCC Resources: This option was rejected due to the lack of specialist skills and potential strain on existing resources.
  3. Procurement via Open Tender: Deemed unsuitable due to potential delays and complications with land ownership and liability issues.

The decision aligns with the TCF programme approved by the Executive Board in 2020, with changes agreed upon in 2022 and 2023. As the grant is already part of the Capital Programme, no formal approval for reallocation between schemes was necessary.

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