Water is the link to canal communities
HIS last week has had a distinctively watery feel to it. I am not just talking about the frequent and sometimes rather heavy rainfall, although the weather conditions certainly have made an impact on events – the cancellation of Berkeley Show is a case in point, and outdoor activities including harvesting and gardening.
Canals have been on my agenda. First of all, I am planning a canal-based surgery on October 4, starting from Saul, going down to Slimbridge and then up to Hardwicke.
If you are interested, contact my office for more details. The aim of this is to highlight the value of the canal and connect more fully with the communities along it. Next year, I hope to organise something similar for the restored part of the canal from Stroud.
I established the Canal Forum to provide opportunities for communities to discuss their aspirations and ideas for the lengths of the canal now being restored.
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The Forum is moving to a new phase. Neighbourhood Planning – introduced by the Localism Act – is where local communities can draw up plans through a consultation process, possibly involving a local referendum. It is encouraging the use of this process for parts of the canal so get involved if interested.
Another water theme is the interest around the Purton Hulks. The stretch of the Severn Estuary bank by Purton has long been used as a graveyard for old barges with the aim of protecting the bank from erosion. However, some of the ships are of historical interest and many have been formally identified.
It is essential to include all stakeholders – especially the residents of Purton – in discussion about access, safely, protection of the environment and visitor capacity. To this end, I have met with the Canals and Rivers Trust and Natural England, and I am encouraging local representatives and groups to engage in the process.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues, call me on 01453 751572 or visit my website www.neilcar michael.co.uk. Now, you can also follow me on twitter @neil_mp.