This was held at Long Eaton Town Hall on 3 Dec 2008
Rob Fitzsimons of BW told us that BW had been given £575K to spend. After the cost of the current paving works at Trent Lock have been deducted, this leaves £250K to be spent on a handful of urgent issues concerning access to the EC. He then introduced Chris Twomey from the Derby architects Latham’s. I counted a total of 18 people present, including 2 from BW, 3 from Latham’s and the leader of the borough council: not a very good turn-out. I learned later that only 7 people (or bodies) had replied to the invitations that were sent out ; but who did they send them to, I wonder?
Chris gave us a presentation in which he discussed various issues. “The Erewash Canal corridor has significant potential as a tourist and recreational facility. The … access strategy is to help guide the development and regeneration work of BW and other stakeholders to take advantage of this potential.” The focus will be on improving access at various ‘gateways’ along the route. Enhancing the connection between the canal corridor and the surrounding areas would: provide safe walking/cycling routes to work; provide access to the countryside; give a direct route to the Attenborough Nature Reserve and to Nottingham; link with other canal corridors and heritage sites. The strategy will: promote local community integration and address anti-social behaviour; create tourism and recreation opportunities, aid green transport and attract business; link with various Local Plans; protect the green infrastructure. The £250K was going to be spent on improving a handful of access points along the route, points which Chris hoped we could help identify as being the most needy. It is anticipated that in the future other money would be available to continue the improvements.
After mentioning specific issues which he and his colleagues at Latham’s were aware of, Chris encouraged attendees to add their perceived problems then and/or continue the discussion informally around some display boards, while partaking of an excellent buffet lunch. The usual glossy publication was given out; I have a copy of this. One attendee voiced his concern that Chris had not once mentioned the interests of anglers - the single most numerous group of users! Two members of the ECPDA also said that boats had hardly been mentioned in the presentation!
During the informal chat, I introduced myself to Rob Fitzsimons, with whom I have been in e-mail contact but never met before, and reminded him of my concerns about the towpath surface. I also asked him how far the quarter of a million quid would go in repairing this surface. This, of course, depended on the type of surface, he said. Tarmac with a top covering might be used on the NT section of the towpath and this money would buy about 1-2 km; limestone could be used elsewhere and would cover about twice that distance.
There is to be a follow-up meeting in January 2009 (date not confirmed yet). I should be on the guest list but it is likely that I shall be in France then. It would be useful therefore if another/other Nutbrooker/s could take my place.