Lichfield canal trust makes breakthrough agreement
06 November 2020
Lichfield canal restoration volunteers have welcomed ground-breaking work with a regional housebuilder as their project to restore an historic lock sees success.
Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has been working closely with Persimmon Homes West Midlands and contractor Amey Transportation Infrastructure on the canal project and the restoration of the original Lock 23.
Persimmon Homes West Midlands is bringing 450 new homes to the city at St John’s Grange, in London Road, as well as creating a link road to form part of the Lichfield Southern Bypass. Construction of the new roadway, between London Road and Birmingham Road, also includes safeguarding the route of Lichfield Canal. The lock, beside St John’s Wharf, became the centre of a campaign to fully restore the heritage structure and incorporate it in the overall bypass design.
Trust engineering director Peter Buck said: “The Trust has worked very closely with Persimmon and Amey over recent weeks on the challenging design to fit the Lichfield Canal and the new bypass through narrow 'pinch-points' to enable the Heritage Lock 23 to be incorporated into the overall design. By adopting the Trust's innovative solution, progress is now being made on this section of the Lichfield Canal."
“With agreement on the key design details between all parties, Amey has mobilised very swiftly to excavate and place binding for the reinforced concrete retaining wall between the new bypass and the Lichfield Canal channel, thus retaining Lock 23. Persimmon is also diverting the pipework under the new bypass to replace the ‘big pipe’ which was installed through the old Lock 23 when the canal was abandoned. Whilst we are pleased that the required work has commenced and is progressing well, there are many details to work through with the contractors over the coming weeks and we look forward to project completion next year.” Excavation work has also begun ready for the first of two bridges to be built over the canal which will link to the new housing development.
Dan Hassall, head of technical at Persimmon Homes West Midlands, said: “The bypass and canal works has been a major collaborative scheme where we have worked in partnership with Amey, Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council, Lichfield City Council as well as Lichfield and Heatherton Canals Restoration Trust. The final phase of the bypass forms part of a regional road improvement scheme to improve the road network and help alleviate congestion within the town. The work is highly technical, but we are delighted at how the project is coming together and the partnership that has developed with Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. This is a complex development for us, providing new homes, a primary school, mixed use community hub, footpaths, cycleways, and open space, including children’s plays areas and sports areas, and it will be a real benefit for people living in this part of the city.”