Shropshire Star

Newport residents react positively to survey on canal issues

Residents were 'overwhelmingly positive' about the prospect of having a permanent barge on a town's canal.

Councillor Tim Nelson when the canal narrowboat was lifted onto the canal at Newport, using a big crane.

A town council survey recently asked for views on whether a 42-foot long narrowboat should be moored on Newport Canal.

A boat had been placed on the water in May, having been loaned to Newport Town Council as part of efforts to remind people of the area's history and to be admired by visitors, showing off green open space to be enjoyed by residents.

The canal boat was removed in October but residents have reacted favourably with their views on the boat.

Discussing the results of a survey, a Town Council statement said: "We were overwhelmed by the response and thank everyone.

"Those who took part said the canal is primarily used for exercise, dog walks and leisure pursuits or access into the town.

"The majority of users enjoy the canal and tow path, scoring it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5.

"Most of the survey respondents were from Newport, though a quarter of non residents travel more than five miles to enjoy the canal.

"Some 90 per cent of people who visited when the canal boat was in place felt it greatly enhanced the canal.

"There was much positive feedback regarding the canal and possible improvements, including the permanent installation of a canal boat and reconnecting the canal to the canal network as well as the installation of a cafe or refreshment stall for the summer months.

"There was also positive feedback to the installation of public toilets, with disabled facilities. It was also felt that the maintenance of canal and tow paths was important for the preservation of wildlife in the area."

Newport town councillor Tim Nelson has previously spoken of plans for a restaurant boat in Newport to 'further boost the town's cafe culture'.

Permanently moored at the wharf adjacent to the Black Shed, in Water Lane, the cafe could be leased out and its community use retained outside hours for meetings and as a venue.

Mr Nelson said: "Residents, due to their own lived experience of visiting other areas, have said 'I remember seeing a boat that was a cafe or restaurant'. They are quaint, it's different, something nice and whimsy.

"For a tourist and leisure destination like Newport, which is an eating, drinking and cafe culture power house, this is straight down the line of supporting what is already a success story."

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