A STAGGERING 13,000 people have backed a petition to show there is “tremendous” support for restoring Chesterfield’s canal.
Less than a year ago the Heritage Lottery Fund reportedly said the waterway’s mammoth rennovation did not hold much heritage value or public support.
Now that has been proved otherwise by the Chesterfield Canal Trust petition.
Chairman Robin Stonebridge said: “Our petition was a way of demonstrating there is a tremendous amount of support – to get 13,000 signatures in less than year is a true measure that people hold the canal very dear.”
The canal stretches from the River Trent to Chesterfield, through tranquil countryside to what will be the multi-million pound Waterside development.
In total restoring 20 miles, with nine left to close the gap, will cost around £32m. Funding is being sought in chunks and the petition will help bids by showing how much support there is for the massive initiative.
“The canal has a phenomenal heritage and in addition the communities along it have got their own stories”, said Mr Stonebridge.
“It was a lifeline for many industries in Derbyshire, transporting all manner of things to markets all over the country and Europe.
“As well as this it brought in fresh produce, moved transport from pack horse level to canal level, and was the spine of a communications system.”
Latest progress includes a 200m stretch being rennovated at Mill Green and Staveley’s new canal basin.
The Heritage and Lottery Fund said discussions are ongoing about the project’s development and support that may be offered in future.
Over £91.4m has been awarded for more than 215 projects on canal or river navigations by the fund.
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