Plans for Daventry canal arm recommended for approval

The planned canal arm; the iCon roundabout is on the left and the Grand Union Canal on the right.

The planned canal arm; the iCon roundabout is on the left and the Grand Union Canal on the right.

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Plans for the controversial canal arm into Daventry look set to be given approval next week.

The long-standing application for the canal link is set to go before councillors, with a recommendation it be approved.

On Wednesday January 11 Daventry District Coucil’s planning committee is set to discuss the application for the 1.6 mile canal arm linking the Grand Union Canal to a proposed waterside development on the Eastern Way playingfield – which is not included in this application.

Officers at the council have recommended the plans for approval.

The application from Daventry District Council for the canal was originally lodged back in 2012 with the former West Northamptonshire Development Corporation which carried out the normal public planning consultation. Since that body was closed down outstanding planning applications reverted to DDC. The council is allowed to determine applications made by itself.

The report being discussed by committee members includes a list of objections from Daventry Town Council, residents, and some councillors.

Objections include the costs of building and maintaining the canal, fears over the safety of people and wildlife around the open water, concern about pollution from boats, and the fact that a parish poll held in 2010 came out against the canal proposals.

The report does not detail the number of letters received, either for objections or those in favour.

The report also lists comments in favour of the plans from councillors, the Canal and River Trust, Daventry Canal Association, and Northamptonshire Inland Waterways Association – although some raise issues with the design and placing of the bridges.

The canal application includes a basin with long term moorings in the corner of Northern Way and Eastern Way along with parking for 14 cars and a small facilities building. The application does not deal with taking the canal under Northern Way or onto the playing field – that would require further planning applications.

A bridge over the canal approximately in line with the Norton Road subway into the park marks the end of the basin.

The canal would snake alongside Daventry Country Park, with links and a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists to the new towpath.

After passing the Country Park there would be a stretch with four narrow (single boat) locks, and then a further two locks where the canal arm approaches the Grand Union Canal. A final bridge would be constructed close to the existing canal.

Even if the application is approved, there is no guarantee it would be built – although once money and a contractor is found there would be no reason work could not start as long as it starts within three years of the approval date.