Canal clean-up bid ignored by BW in Kidsgrove

CALLS to tidy up an important heritage site on the Trent and Mersey Canal have gone unanswered, it has been claimed.

Butt Lane’s Councillor Kyle Robinson says graffiti adorns walls along the canal in Kidsgrove and that a damaged bridge has been left in need of repairs for months.

And he accused British Waterways, which is responsible for maintaining the UK’s canal network, of neglecting the site.

It follows repeated requests for work to be carried out.

Labour councillor Mr Robinson believes the organisation should be taking action because of the importance of the canal to Kidsgrove.

He added: “When I spoke to British Waterways about the graffiti and the bridge they basically turned it around and said it was up to the local authority to tidy up the area. They just passed the buck.

“Then they suggested I find some volunteers to tidy up the canal, but it’s their responsibility.”

Mr Robinson said something needed to be done as the problem had drawn many complaints.

And he is now looking for volunteers to help him tidy up the area, which he believes could be an asset for the town.

A car travelling along Hardingswood Road crashed into the bridge over the canal months ago, causing debris to fall into the canal and on to the towpath.

British Waterways says it will repair the bridge once it has permission from Staffordshire County Council to close the road.

The organisation also says it faces a “difficult struggle” to tackle graffiti and other anti-social behaviour.

But Mr Robinson added: “A lot of people use the canal and they could be bringing money into Kidsgrove.

“When I mentioned this to British Waterways they said that more people were using the canal now than ever before.

“I said that meant there was all the more reason to do something.”

Heritage lawyer David Martin, of historical research foundation the Staffordshire Phoenix Trust, agreed that the canal is in desperate need of improvement.

He is campaigning for the North Staffordshire Coalfield to be made a World Heritage Site, and believes theHarecastle Tunnel is one of the wonders of the industrial age.

He said: “You could say that the canal is responsible for the creation of Kidsgrove.

“But it is in a disgraceful state at the moment.

“I believe Kidsgrove has a future, and that future is tourism, but people aren’t going to visit a town that looks so unattractive.”

A British Waterways spokesman said the damage to the bridge would be fixed once road closure was approved.

He added: “British Waterways is dedicated to making the canal a clean, safe and enjoyable environment for all our customers.

“However, we are facing a difficult struggle to reduce anti-social behaviour along some sections of the canal due to the small minority of mindless individuals who dump all sorts rubbish into the canal.”

Article By Phil Corrigan @ The Sentinel

via Canal clean-up bid ignored by officials – Oliver Clews.

2 comments to Canal clean-up bid ignored by BW in Kidsgrove

  • I agree with British Waterways (BW).

    Their statutory responsibility is to keep the canals open for navigation and since 2006 they have suffered stringent budgetary cuts from Government to the point that the money available to keep the canals open is some £30 million short of ideal.

    Clearly, with such financial constraints they should be concentrating their limited funds on keeping our waterways safe and open.

    There is another important point to consider here. Councillor Kyle Robinson acknowledges that the canal is important to Kidsgrove. The canal contributes to the local economy and one has to ask if that is the case, why do local residents treat it with such disdain? It seems very likely that it was local residents who created the graffitti and equally it was probably a local driver that damaged the bridge.

    It seems only fair that if local residents were the cause then it should be the local authority that should pick up the bill. The grant-in-aid received from Government is to keep the navigation open, not clear up after anti-social elements or careless drivers from the local community.

  • Kyle Robinson

    I have to disagree with you on this occasion due to the fact Kidsgrove Canal has been neglected for years and not just since the economic downturn. British Waterways should at least send someone to come and assess the problem and I offered more than once to meet with them. Most of the volunteers so far are all under 21 (Only one person over 21 has offered support, one OAP) so we do have dedicated young people in our area. Young people who want to help tidy up their communities. Far too often young people are given a bad press and it’s the minority that spoil it for them. I also get lots of school children and teenagers involved in local litter picks. We need to remember they aren’t all the same.

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