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Canal project hit by rising costs crisis

Created on 17/04/2022 @ 09:12

The multi-million project to connect Welshpool to the rest of the UK via the Montgomeryshire Canal is being impacted by the rising costs crisis that is throttling the country.

Last week it was confirmed that the UK Government would be backing the project with some funding as part of its Levelling Up programme, but last night a sobering reminded was provided that we are long way from home yet.

In an update provided by the volunteer Restore the Montgomery Canal! Appeal, the group said it was “delighted” with the response to its latest appeal for final funds for the reconstruction of Schoolhouse Bridge, the last highway blockage in Shropshire.

This is due to be rebuilt this year but has been “affected by the sharply rising cost of construction materials”.

However, donations have come flooding in from Edinburgh to Southampton, they say, with one supporter pledging to match every pound that is raised.

In a few weeks the appeal passed £25,000 in addition to a £10,000 legacy from a late member of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

Michael Limbrey, Chairman of the Restore the Montgomery Canal! group said, “Our team of volunteers has worked for five years for the reconstruction of Schoolhouse Bridge, one of the main obstructions to restoration of the derelict section of the canal to the Welsh border at Llanymynech.

“We now have the formal consents for the project and are finding that there is real inflation in the cost of materials: contributions to the appeal fund will help us meet those extra costs.

“We are absolutely delighted with the extent that people all over the country have responded to our appeal.

“We are now working to put in place the final arrangements to rebuild Schoolhouse Bridge and to fix a starting date. In just a few months we have to close the road, excavate the embankment blocking the canal, build the new bridge and reopen the road.

“While this is going on we shall continue discussions with consultants, engineers and Shropshire Council about the restoration of those final two miles from the bridge to Llanymynech. 

“This will match what is going on across the border in Powys where a programme of restoration is being planned under recently announced government grants; we hope that work will get under way later in the year. This year too volunteers of the Shropshire Union Canal Society are working to finish their lottery-supported extension of the navigable section north of Crickheath.

“Much will be happening in coming months to reopen more of the canal in further steps to bring the area all the benefits of restoration: recreation and well-being for residents and visitors, jobs and business opportunities, and protection of the canal’s valuable built and natural heritage.”

Donations can be made through the Local Giving page for the Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal:

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