By Darren Sheild, Westmorland Gazette Reporter.
A CHARITY devoted to the restoration of the Lancaster Canal has applied for permission to restore a section of the waterway that fell into disuse in the 1960s.
The Lancaster Canal Trust applied to South Lakeland District Council in April for the go-ahead to re-water and bring back to life a section of the canal roughly 400 metres long.
The section, running from Sellet Hall Bridge near Stainton toward the A590, had its navigation rights removed in the 1960s and drained.
The application form, submitted by Peter Jones from the trust, says: “The former canal remains as a dry overgrown ditch.
“After possible re-lining and installation of a retaining structure (e.g. sheet piles), it will be re-watered and connected to the existing restored section towards Stainton.
“It will then be accessible by small leisure craft, running along the short length of canal from Millness.
“No significant visible structures will be created, just a wooden (or equivalent) landing stage.
“There will be no significant increase in public access on foot or by vehicle.”
The ultimate aim of the Lancaster Canal Trust is to reopen the canal from Tewitfield Locks, north of Carnforth, to Kendal.
Two residents of Stainton have lodged objections to the proposal.
Carol Wilson wrote: “Previous attempts to re-line a section of the canal have been unsuccessful, resulting in abandonment and re-thinking of materials used including concrete slabs, resulting in major disruption to local wildlife and the surrounding environment.”
“As a dog-walker living in this area, I meet many people who say what a beautiful, tranquil area this is, and how lovely it is to have some shade and hear the birds singing.
“In particular, disabled and elderly people find safe-level dog-walking in a sheltered tranquil wooded area relaxing and enjoyable.
“This will all change sadly if this application is successful.”
Geoffrey Wilson wrote: “Provision has not been made to ensure safe access to the towpath at Stainton Cross.
“Everyone, including disabled people and people with young children will be required to access the new section of canal via walking on the road over a narrow bridge on a sharp bend and through a metal gate to access the existing towpath.
“The risk to people is totally unacceptable and has not been factored into this application.”