22nd Jul, 2019

Bid to open River Avon to boats between Stratford and Warwick fails to win backing of Warwick District Council

Ian Hughes 8th Feb, 2019 Updated: 8th Feb, 2019

A BID to make the River Avon navigable between Stratford and Warwick has failed to win the backing of council chiefs.

Warwick District Council’s ruling Executive has decided not to support the initiative which could have led to the extension of the Avon Navigation Scheme from Alveston, north of Stratford, to the Grand Union Canal at Warwick.

The committee decided the economic case of an extension in terms of tourism potential, expected capital costs and environmental costs could not be justified following a study carried out on behalf of the council and its partners Stratford District Council and the Avon Navigation Trust.

The report estimated the total cost could be between £27.7million and £29.6million.

WDC business spokesman Coun Noel Butler said: “Any project which has the potential to increase visitor numbers to our district is always worth exploring.

“Unfortunately, in this case the environmental and capital costs outweighed the benefits. We will however continue to work with Stratford District Council to improve public access along the river corridor between our two towns.”

Avon Navigation Trust proposed the plans some 30 years ago, inspired a long time before by Charles I, who intended to optimise supply routes via rivers, although he never got as far as Warwick.

SDC’s Cabinet will consider the report on Monday.

SDC deputy leader Coun Mark Cargill said: “This has attracted a great deal of public interest from both sides of the argument. On the one hand the proposal promises more river based tourism for our area, but on the other hand there would be a significant impact on the river and its setting.

“The decision will be made not only on the economic case but also the impact on the countryside. This is an ambitious scheme that has already received careful consideration. It will be fully discussed at the meeting, where a decision will be made whether or not to progress the scheme.”

The Avon Navigation Trust has yet to comment.

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