Wichelstowe - Extension of the Wilts & Berks Canal
Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, Wichelstowe LLP, has submitted a planning application for a new stretch of canal including a continuous pedestrian connection and other ecological improvements.
The application includes plans for a new crossing of the canal under Mill Lane along with a new towpath. The pedestrian route is planned to be approximately 1km long and three-metres wide. The towpath will cross the canal via a swing bridge which will remain closed to provide a footpath connection between the District Centre and East Wichel and open when boats pass through.
It’s also proposed the opposite bank to the towpath will become an ‘ecological edge’ that will provide a welcoming environment for the birds, water voles and other wildlife that make the canal their home.
Wichelstowe project director, Daniel Pavely, said: “The canal and embankments provide a strong landscape element that structures the District Centre and are important ecological habitats for a variety of wildlife. This ambitious project will further enhance the existing canal corridor which will attract locals and visitors alike, connect two communities and positively encourage people to get out and about whether that’s on foot or on a bike.”
A Wilts and Berks Canal Trust spokesman added: “We’re delighted to see this long-awaited project coming to life. Joining these two separate sections makes excellent sense. It will enable us to offer much longer and more interesting boat trips, especially through the existing lock in East Wichel, and it’s another step towards restoring the canal in partnership with Wichelstowe LLP and Swindon Borough Council in the wider Swindon area.”
Subject to planning permission, work on the canal is expected to start in 2023 and will take a number of years to complete.
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