Work starts to restore Shrewsbury Canal as part of Flaxmill Maltings redevelopment

Further details have been released of a £250,000 investment to restore the canal alongside Shrewsbury's Flaxmill Maltings.

Historic England's vision of how the site could look. Picture: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Historic England's vision of how the site could look. Picture: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Historic England has undertaken preparations to ensure that the restoration of Shrewsbury Canal at the site in Ditherington can be completed in the future.

They include reducing the ground level, removing contaminated soil and clearing the canal and towpath of any obstructions.

The work is being done as part of a multi-million pound regeneration project, which will initially see 120 houses and flats on the site.

Tamsin Foster, of Historic England, said: "We are doing all we can to make any future reinstatement of the canal easier and quicker.

"We have removed all obstacles which once covered the canal and tow path, reduced the ground level and removed contaminated soil, and lowered drainage and services to run under the canal as much as possible.

"Additionally we have restored the retaining wall alongside the canal, reinstated the towpath and designed the new road into the Flaxmill Maltings site to be at a suitable gradient to accommodate the canal in the future.

Aspiration

"The reinstatement of the canal would be beneficial to the Flaxmill Maltings site as a part of a coordinated scheme to connect Shrewsbury to the wider canal network, and the works that we have carried out along the canal line future-proof this aspiration and preserve the line of the canal in perpetuity.

"Over the next year, prior to the main Mill and Kiln buildings opening next spring, we will be continuing work on the canal line, including doing the landscaping to allow it to become a pedestrian cycleway into the site, and we will also be developing interpretation around the site to tell the story of the canal and its importance."

Tamsin added: "Full restoration as a working canal would need to be planned as part of a much larger project, extending along the whole length of the canal and the major highways that currently obstruct it.

"Currently Historic England is focussed on restoring the internationally important historic buildings at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings – we still have four more which are in need of funds to restore them and these are our current priority.

"Meanwhile, the line of the former canal and towpath will be landscaped and serve as a footpath and cycleway into site, linking to the surrounding local cycle network, as part of our sustainable transport aspirations."

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