2013 start for towpath improvements
The first phase of the £700,000 towpath improvement in Stone is set to start in February 2o13 and last for around three months, with a second phase taking place in 2014.
The work is the final piece of the jigsaw to link a national cycle path between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent. It forms part of the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath improvement project which has been a partnership between Stafford Borough Council, the County Council and the Canal and River Trust – the new charity that has taken over responsibility for waterways in England and Wales from British Waterways.
The work will improve the route from Aston to Barlaston and create an open access to the canal path.
The cost of the work is more than £700,000 with Staffordshire County Council investing £458,000 into the scheme and the borough council contributing £261,870 to improvements on the whole of the 7.6km stretch. The Canal and River Trust have also contributed in kind.
The route forms part of the 650km long National Cycle Network Route 5 which connects many towns and cities in England and Wales. It will open access to the Barlaston Downs Banks and improve the area opposite the former Meaford Power Station site.
Councillor Frances Beatty, cabinet member for planning and regeneration at the borough council, said: “This will bring a boost for the area and will help attract visitors to Stone and Barlaston. It will also create better links for cyclists and walkers and has the support from local communities along the route. I know the scheme will be warmly welcomed by cyclists and an improved towpath will allow workers living in and around Stone the choice to use their bikes to get to Trentham Lakes employment area.”