Waterway Charities Line up against Supermarket Developers

Waterway Charities Line up against Supermarket Developers to save Midlands Waterway Restoration

Issue date: 16th April 2013

The Inland Waterways Association has joined local residents in a battle to prevent private developers’ wrecking the restoration of an historic West Midlands waterway for the community.  

When plans were first agreed by Birmingham City Council for the proposed new Sainsbury store at Selly Oak, a corridor of land along the route of the old Dudley No2 Canal was incorporated along with restoration of the canal, which would be funded by the developers.  The canal, known locally at the Lapal Canal, would eventually connect with Dudley and Stourbridge, and bring tourists to the lesser visited waterways in South East Birmingham.  

The development partnership has, however, now submitted revised plans to try to wriggle out of its commitment to restore the waterway so that it can intensify the development and make more money.

The Inland Waterways Association, which is the national co-ordinating charity for inland waterways interests across the country, and with thousands of members in the West Midlands, has vowed to oppose the latest moves by developers ‘Harvest’ and supermarket giant Sainsbury.  Community, heritage and amenity groups throughout the area are putting in objections to the planning application, and local residents are encouraged to make their views known to councillors.  

Les Etheridge, national chairman of The Inland Waterways Association said ‘Enthusiasts have been working to restore this waterway, often with their own money, for public benefit, for over twenty years and have been building momentum and support from local authorities, funding bodies and organisations that make the restoration a realistic prospect in the near future.  It is simply scandalous that greedy developers can even think of trashing this community effort just to further increase their profits.  It would be simply appalling if the Council’s planners could countenance such a situation.’

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