Waterways of Stoke-on-Trent - Burslem
The boat comes in - to Burslem Port
A £5 million pound project to attract thousands of tourists by restoring an abandoned canal and dockyard was unveiled today.
The Burslem Port project is expected to create more than 50 jobs in the heritage and leisure industry by reopening the partially filled-in Burslem Branch Canal.
The volunteer group aims to dig out and refill the channel, restore run-down buildings and attract a boatyard, museum and pub to the site.
They intend to make Burslem Port a top tourist attraction - a stopping place for the thousands of pleasure-boaters who use the Trent and Mersey canal - and in the process spur the regeneration of Middleport.
Organisers of the four-year scheme have applied for charitable trust status, hope to win National Lottery and Government cash and are trying to attract voluntary help.
Project officer David Dumbelton said: ‘‘It is a very ambitious plan but we believe we have a good chance of success. The canal is blighted, rubbish strewn and attracts vagrants. We would turn it into an attractive and bustling area which would be a community asset and create over 50 jobs.
‘‘Boaters would have somewhere safe to moor and would spend money visiting the shops, pubs and attractions of the Burslem area. This would help improve Middleport too.’’
Patron MP Joan Walley said: ‘‘I am extremely excited by the Burslem Port proposals. This scheme, once completed, will provide major social, economic and environmental benefits to the Burslem and the Middleport communities.’’
Burslem Canal Development Trust, community representatives, canal enthusiasts and British Waterways are spearheading the project and hope to win city council support.
An 18 month public consultation period will start this weekend before final details are agreed.
An exhibition is to be staged at Middleport Methodist Church Hall, Dimsdale Street, on April 18 and 19.