Will the Proposed Daventry Canal Arm Ever Be Built?
A 1.6 mile canal arm from Daventry to the Grand Union Canal near Daventry in Northamptonshire was given approval by the Daventry planning department in January 2017, However building of the new canal arm is still in doubt due to lack of funding. If funding is found the new arm could see Daventry linked up to the Grand Union Canal. It would include six locks and is hoped that it would terminate in a new waterfront development in the centre of Daventry. The proposal has been on the table for more than ten years, and has been open to public consultation twice over the years.
The new canal arm if built would provide a new pedestrian link from Daventry town centre out into the countryside and to existing canal walks along the towpath to local villages Braunston and Weedon.
History of the Grand Junction Canal
When the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union Canal) was planned in the 1790's running from Brentford to Braunston a number of canal arms were planned to connect with various towns along the route. Daventry was on the list because the engineers planned to use a millstream locally to feed the canal, but for whatever reason the Daventry arm was never built. Instead the Grand Junction Canal Company dug a huge resevoir just outside daventry where the mill stream was.
After World War II a Birmingham overspill of residents saw Daventry rapidly grow, however the North East of the town including the resevoir and country park remained rural. These days the green fields are rapidly being taken given over to more housing and the town is growing further.
The new canal arm to Daventry was originally proposed by David Griffin, who was on the District Council from the year 2000. David was a canal boater at that time and had read about the history of the Grand Junction Canal and learned how Daventry had missed out in the 1790's, so he started to campaign for the new arm and 12 acre waterfront area. David Griffin sadly passed away in 2013.
In the masterplan for the new canal arm a new town centre area would be construced around the waterfront to include housing, offices, bus interchange, comunity centre, college and a hotel. There would be visitor moorings and a restaurant boat. The new arm which would link up the waterfront to the Grand Union would stretch for 1.6 miles and decend approximately 50ft.
Although Daventry Council has yet to find any developers willing to invest in the scheme they decided to grant permission in January 2017 and have three years from that date to begin construction.
It is proposed to split the project into parts. To start in the middle with a lock free summit level canal. The first stage would also see a small besin built with space for around ten narrowboats to moor. A channel would be constructed to run around the adge of Daventry and the resevoir for approximately one mile and on one level, where there are no obstacles and the land is flat, with a couple of bridges built in the 18th century country style. The channel would create a strip of recreational water through the country park. It is hoped this first stage will encourage developers to get involved.
Stage two is intended to connect the channel to the Grand Union Canal. This part will be more difficult to build as the canal will have to decend about 50ft to meet the canal. A boat lift was originally proposed, but instead it is now planned to create locks. It has been announced that the inclined plane which will be built be named after David Griffin. After a single decent on this plane, the channel would lead to two conventional locks before the junction with the Grand Union.
The cost is believed to be in the region of 22m, but the council has not announced where the money will come from. It is hoped that a community ifrastructure levy paid by the developers to finance the facilities required for the inhabitants of the new housing can be used towards it.
There is still a great deal of oposition from the local labour party and the town council as well as many local residents, mostly due to cost, calling the proposal "an expensive pond" and wanting more practical spending in the town.
Will the Daventry Canal Arm ever be built, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the plans? let us know by commenting below.