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UK Levelling Up Fund Success

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27 October 2021

Image of money Ambitious plans to restore a disused section of the Montgomery Canal in Powys will go ahead after Powys County Council's successful bid to the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund.

The council submitted a near £14m bid to revitalise disused section of the canal near Welshpool as part of a three-submissions to the £4.8billion Levelling Up Fund, set up to support infrastructure, regeneration, transport, and heritage projects.

Leader of Powys County Council, Councillor Rosemarie Harris said: "We are delighted that our bid to the UK Fund to revitalise a disused section of the canal, linking it to navigable sections and the national network has been successful.

"The phased restoration and regeneration of the canal will see the waterway become a flagship visitor attraction, providing long-term economic, cultural and recreational benefits to local communities.   

"Our plans will protect and enhance the canal's unique natural environment with the creation of three new off-line water-based nature reserves, to balance the anticipated increase in canal traffic. We will be working with the canal's owners and operators, the Canal and River Trust, with the project being delivered by the Montgomery Canal Partnership.

"Today's announcement is not just great news for north Powys and the immediate canal vicinity, it will stimulate economic growth for the region attracting increased visitors, creating and protect jobs providing a boost to local economies.

"We have seen from other canal restoration project in the UK the economic boost that this kind of infrastructure project can deliver, with huge increases in visitor numbers, with day-visitors becoming stay-visitors and increased spend in the local economy," she added.

Richard Parry, chief executive at Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales, said: "We're delighted that funding has been awarded to restore a section of the Montgomery Canal in Wales. This is an exciting period for the beautiful Montgomery Canal, and we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us. We'll be working in partnership with Powys County Council and the Montgomery Canal Partnership to make these plans a reality. This funding will greatly support our work to complete the restoration and connect the Welsh section of the Canal with the English section."

The bid application set out plans to restore a 4.4-mile section of canal to navigate from the Wales-England border at Llanymynech south to Arddleen, with the 12 miles already restored either side of Welshpool this is a significant step towards full restoration and connection to the national network.  

Work will include the development of a community cultural hub on the canal at Welshpool Wharf utilising historic canal-side buildings. It will see the re-building of Walls Bridge and Williams Bridge, two road obstacles.

Three off-line water-based nature reserves will be created alongside the canal to protect the canal's natural standing as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, in line with an agreed Conservation Management Plan to increase water traffic.

The target is to increase current 500 boats per year to 2,500 per year and allow kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to navigate the waterway.

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