Local people, businesses and canal enthusiasts have so far pledged £60,000 towards Bondholder Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust’s £100,000 goal to reinstate a ‘Golden Mile’ of canal in Draycott into a leisure attraction.
The total has built up substantially since the open day in November on site showing off the Trust’s recent acquisition of six cottages. Although the Cottage Restoration will be funded from other sources, the public recognised the value of the two projects combined and pledged support for the canal line itself.
The Trust needs to demonstrate public support to secure grant funding to complete the £354,000 canal project.
The recent successes of the pledge appeal launched in May, show it is now likely that funding can be achieved and the 12-week construction programme can start on the canal in summer 2018.
Once completed, the ‘Golden Mile’ will have a slipway to allow canoes and boats access to the water with mooring points at each end.
The canal will be stocked with fish and angling facilities set up. There will be a hard-standing car park at Hopwell Road for the visitor attraction with a re-laid foot and cycle path as well as a grass track for horse riders.
The Draycott ‘Golden Mile’ will be the first stage of the Trust’s long-term plan to restore a 13 mile stretch of the former Derby Canal between the city and Sandiacre.
Once the whole project is completed, Derby Canal will connect to the Trent and Mersey and Erewash Canals - creating a 25 mile cruising ring with then access to more than 2,000 miles of navigable waterways across the UK.
As well as restoring the canal, the ambitious programme includes creating a short canal stretch through Pride Park with an ‘arm’ lift to take boats down to the river level so that they can then travel up the Derwent to the Silk Mill in the city centre.
The original Derby Canal was completed in 1796 but was abandoned in the 1960s and filled in during the 1970s.
Pledges for the Draycott Golden Mile soared during a recent open day organised by the Trust and attended by more than 300 people who were keen to see the plans to restore six derelict cottages overlooking the stretch of canal.
Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust is proposing to create a multi-use development including a base for the Trust with an information centre about the history of and future plans for the restoration of the canal.
The buildings will also be a base for businesses supporting the canalside activities together with two domestic dwellings. Funding will be raised through commercial development loans and grants.
Chris Madge, chair of Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust, explained: “The £60,000 mark is an important milestone for the Draycott ‘Golden Mile’ project and clearly demonstrates public support for our proposals to reinstate the canal.
“We are on the home strait but still need further pledges of support from individuals, businesses and organisations.
“We will then call upon pledges when the funding target has been reached and the 12-week canal construction work is scheduled to begin.”