The Phase 1a restoration programme comprised a six mile section of canal between 'The Ocean' at Stonehouse on the Stroudwater Navigation and Brimscombe Port east of Stroud on the Thames & Severn Canal.
Work on the ground started in September 2007 and was more or less completed in 2018. However, some of the originally planned works have been deferred. More on this later.
The original Phase 1a plan included:
- Restoration of 6 miles of canal to a navigable standard
- Reinstatement of a about 2,100m of infilled canal
- Upgrading of towpath for walkers & cyclists
- Construction of 11 bridges
- Construction of new weirs & flood gate
- Restoration / reinstatement of 10 locks
and the redevelopment of Brimscombe Port.
British Waterways (now CRT) were originally going to deliver the programme, but withdrew from the project in April 2008, not long after work started, causing some inevitable delays.
Responsibility for managing the programme then passed to Stroud District Council and a canal project manager was appointed in April 2009. In March 2009 the Stroud Valleys Canal Company was incorporated to take ownership of, and manage the restored canal.
Phase 1a Funding
Initially the Phase 1a programme had finance to complete all planned works, except for the section of the canal between Hope Mill and Brimscombe Port, including the Port itself. This was to be funded as part of the redevelopment of the Port by one or more developers.
The cost initially was estimated at £27.6 million with £11.9 million of that being awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in January 2006. The remaining funding being provided by members of the Cotswold Canals Partnership and donations. A significant contribution has also been made through the use of volunteer labour.
When the original HLF award was made in January 2006 the anticipated completion date was March 2009.
Phase 1a Achievements
The Phase 1a restoration work started on the ground in early September 2007.
Since then the canal has been fully restored and is navigable heading east from 'The Ocean' in Stonehouse as far as the infilled Hope Mill Lock, east of Stroud.
See Phase 1a End-to-End Tour for more information.
Phase 1a Deferred Work
In November 2012 the restoration plan was scaled back with the stated aim of getting the canal restored as far as Hope Mill, and not Brimscombe Port as originally planned. This was due to a funding shortfall, which in part was down the redevelopment of Brimscombe Port being delayed because of 'market conditions'.
The remaining work on Phase 1a will be scheduled as and when funding is available.
Phase 1a deferred work:
- New lock at Hope Mill
- New road bridge at Hope Mill
- Removal of infill at Hope Mill
- Gough's Orchard Lock (mainly fitting of Lock Gates)
- Removal of infill above Gough's Orchard Lock
- New river crossing near Brimscombe Port
- New road bridge near Brimscombe Port
- New basin at Brimscombe Port and associated facilities
Brimscombe Port was given a boost on 15 October 2015 when a £2M funding award was made by the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA). This will enable some of the initial infrastructure work to take place including the demolition of a number of disused industrial buildings.
This should make it easier to attract developers to construct the commercial and residential property planned for the site in due course, alongside the reinstatement of the canal.