Public Meeting 13th April 2023
The Chair Penny Gowland thanked all volunteers, fundraisers, litter pickers and everyone who had contributed to bringing the West Bridgford section of the Grantham Canal up the public agenda. She welcomed representatives from the County Council, Severn Trent and the Environment Agency to the meeting.
Minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated and could be accessed on the WebCan Facebook page. A copy would be circulated with the minutes of this meeting and if anyone has any comments please reply by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Osborn advised that a series of GCS working parties held during February had attracted 41 lady Bay residents, 17 new GCS members, with a total of 85 volunteers over three weekends and a maximum of 29 on one Saturday. Several Duke of Edinburgh bronze award students had attended on more than one occasion. Working parties are now paused during the nesting season but will resume in August/ September. The Chair congratulated the team on the excellent work done and commented that the section of the canal near Lock 1 outside the EA office had not looked as good as this during the 20 years she had been cycling past it.
Discussions continue between GCS and the Environment Agency about the benefits of a solar pump versus a borehole as a means of securing the water supply to West Bridgford sections of the canal and it is likely that a submission for funding will be made to Severn Trent. Cotgrave Golf Club already has a borehole and a team from GCS and WebCan is going to visit and learn from them next week.
CRT was unable to send a representative to this meeting but Kathleen Dunmore advised that dredging work had taken place on sections of both the Lady Bay and Gamston parts of the canal and further work would be continued after the nesting season. There had been discussion with the CRT team about falling water levels along the West Bridgford section of the canal and an engineer is expected to visit on Monday.
Callum ? Flood Risk Officer for the County Council advised that the County Council is now aware of the culvert adjacent to Trent Blvd and is working out how to ensure that any blockages are cleared and water flow is maintained.
Chris Harris and Paul Abel presented a powerpoint presentation (attached) explaining the principles of how a borehole operates, the amount of space it takes up and how it could be powered. Some discussion about whether one or more boreholes are needed and where it/ they should be sited. A borehole within the West Bridgford section of the canal provides local water flow. One sited further upstream at Cotgrave or Bassingfield would benefit a longer section of the canal but there is a possibility of water loss through evaporation which might minimise the flow of water reaching the Gamston and lady Bay sections. GCS and WebCan to work together to bottom out this issue.
Cost of application for an abstraction licence for a borehole needs to be clarified. Richard Cooper (EA) and Paul Abel to work together on this.
The water level in the Lady Bay and Gamston sections of the canal had fallen significantly since 22nd March (although it has since risen again). Measures are proposed to block individual culverts (assuming permission can be obtained from CRT) to ascertain whether there are any leaks in the canal and if so where these might be. It was not considered advisable to apply Siltex until this issue has been resolved and the Siltex application which had been scheduled for April will now take place in November.
Tony Osbond advised of the existence of two culverts which run under the canal which could be checked using a torch. He can provide a map indicating their exact location.
There are also abandoned shallow boreholes in Gamston connected with construction of the new housing estate. These are unlikely to be useful but could be checked out. (Rob Cook to follow up with British Geological Survey).
David Cook from Severn Trent spoke briefly about the background to the decision to divert sewage to a single pumping station at Radcliffe on Trent. This decision was in accordance with the Water Framework Directive. It was unfortunate that the impact on the Grantham Canal had not been fully considered at the time, but there was no legislative requirement for this to be done.
Severn Trent has a grant giving fund which can give awards of between £10-200K under the themes People Place and Environment. Decisions are taken by an Independent Customer Panel but the Severn Trent team can work with potential applicants to ensure that a good quality application is submitted. GCS has given early notice of an application for funding for either a borehole or a solar pump. GCS and WebCan to coordinate on this.
Severn Trent also operates an employee volunteer programme - with all employees having to do 2 days a year voluntary work. David is always looking for ideas for what these volunteers could do and he would be interested to hear our thoughts on this.
Noting that Severn Trent is not the only source of public funding and that bidding is open for the Rushcliffe Council Shared Prosperity Fund and it is a Webcan priority to submit a bid by mid-May 2023.
Marek then led a brief group discussion about what do we want from the canal? How can its use be integrated with other community and environmental activities which take place in Lady Bay, Abbey Park and Gamston? Is there a natural link with the Nottingham Forest football ground which is very close to Lock One? Can it provide teaching material on history or environmental matters for local schools?
A series of group discussions produced the following ideas:
Create a nature trail: increase the variety of trees and plant life and hence seek to encourage nectar cross pollination
Educational role: run canal safety and heritage days, link in as a space for Lady Bay Arts Festival r Open Gardens (or similar events in Gamston/Abbey Park)
Fitness and leisure activities: could the towpath provide an improved route from A to B for cyclists, hikers and runners? Is there potential to bring back canoeists?
Wildlife and water sanctuary: the path and public spaces need to be kept clean and attractive. Are there additional amenities (such as benches) which could be provided
Could more be made of the area around lock one as a public amenity: perhaps with a restaurant or cafe and some refurbished attractive lock gates
Marek and WebCan to follow up and report back to next public meeting.
Date of next public meeting 15 June 2023 (Paul is this what you have agreed with Poppy and Pint?)