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£46m canal plan barges ahead

Disused Belfast to Lisburn waterway moves step closer to being reopened

A £46million plan to reopen the historic canal from Belfast to Lisburn has cast off at last - after years of being left high and dry. Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has passed an outline scheme to Finance Minister Arlene Foster for approval, involving £46.3m over seven years. It is the first phase of proposals by the Lagan Canal Trust which wants to relaunch the 27 miles of potentially navigable waterway between Belfast and Lough Neagh.

Despite the current swathe of spending cuts, the Sinn Fein minister said she would make a formal bid for funding after Mrs Foster's department reaches its conclusions on the 'business case' for the project.

In a written Assembly answer, she said: "A Strategic Outline Business Case has recently been forwarded to the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) for consideration and potential funding for Phase 1 of the project - the reopening of the navigation from Belfast to Union locks, Lisburn, at a cost of £46.3m over seven years. "When the Business Case is approved by DFP, I will submit a bid for funding as is the normal process."

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has provided core funding to the Trust from 2009 when it was first established as a registered charity.

The Trust also includes three councils - Belfast, Lisburn/Castlereagh, and the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon authority, as well as the NI Environment Agency as partners. It said: "(We) are custodians of the 300-year-old waterway - a living and working heritage - and we do this with sustainability in mind to ensure that our outstanding national asset is well kept for future generations to enjoy."

A report by the Trust three years ago warned there was no strategic policy for inland waterways in Northern Ireland, despite the cross-border body Waterways Ireland.

"A major risk to developing the Reopening Plan is the policy vacuum in the Northern Ireland Executive," the report said. "In order that the Trust can plan for success it will be necessary for all the departments with liability and responsibility for the navigation - Culture, Arts and Leisure, Social Development, the Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Education Trade and Industry - to come together to integrate their policies."

As well as the 46-mile Ulster Canal from Armagh to Lough Erne, the Upper Bann, Newry and Coalisland Canals were abandoned in the 1950s when they failed to compete with goods transported by rail and road.
 

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Planning application for the Stranmillis aspect was submitted on December 15th

Seems the existing weir is being retained rather than the curved idea (similar to the weir in Bath) in the initial renders. Still looks good though, the bridge and landscaping looks excellent.

Lagan gateway project includes: the provision of a new boat lock at Stranmillis to allow the passage of boats past the weir, new footbridge and path linking Annadale embankment with Stranmillis and paths to Belvoir Park. Works involve working in the river Lagan near an existing weir and fish pass and constructing a footbridge near a scheduled monument area (historical lock)





http://epicpublic.planningni.gov.uk...ils.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O0SM52SV30000
 

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This is great but lets hope there is funding to complete the route between Stranmillis and Lisburn, otherwise its pointless.

Think I read that there are 14 locks between Stranmillis and Lisburn that would need to be reopened, and looking at google maps, there are parts where the river is not visible, covered by trees.
 

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This is great but lets hope there is funding to complete the route between Stranmillis and Lisburn, otherwise its pointless.

Think I read that there are 14 locks between Stranmillis and Lisburn that would need to be reopened, and looking at google maps, there are parts where the river is not visible, covered by trees.

Wouldn't boats be able to use the river itself and bypass some locks until all are put back into use?

EDIT: I forgot about Shaws Bridge, that needs a solution as well a few other places. Looking at the map the former canal is a proper mess at the minute
 

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Yeah Shaw's Bridge, area around Malone Golf Club, area around Drumbeg Lockhouse, area around Drumbo Park and crossing at Tullynacross Rd. A few areas may require dredging and parts where the trees are overgrown and have narrowed the pass would need to be cleaned up.
 

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After being put on hold due to the collapse of Lagan Construction Group, the council is hopeful the Lagan Gateway portion of the project will recommence in July.

https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/lagan-weir-bridge-construction-hoped-16284043
Interesting video on the page from 1993.


I know the Laganside Corporation get a lot of stick on here for how they developed the riverfront but looking at videos like that show just how awful and grim it was before the developments. Far from perfect but in hindsight they did a pretty good job, particularly with Donegall Quay, Greggs Quay and Custom House Sq.
 

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I know the Laganside Corporation get a lot of stick on here for how they developed the riverfront but looking at videos like that show just how awful and grim it was before the developments. Far from perfect but in hindsight they did a pretty good job, particularly with Donegall Quay, Greggs Quay and Custom House Sq.
My childhood memory of the Lagan is the smell from the mudflats at low tide before the weir was built.
 

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must have been great to see so much activity, moving Belfast forward after the 60's - 80's. So much of Belfast's prosperity right now is built on that infrastructure built in the early 90's opening up the Lagan, roads for port access for manufacturing, the commuter rail network allowing offices to boom in the centre and TQ.

I think the new Uni, Transport Hub, and YSI may have the same effect, hopefully they get moving eventually.
 
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