Client & Design Award
The Nottingham Beeston Canal provides boaters with a route from Meadow Lane Nottingham to Beeston Lock, avoiding a non-navigable length of the River Trent. Via its towpath, it provides other users with an off-highway pedestrian and cycle link to the commercial and retail facilities in the centre of Nottingham, and is also a route to work for many.
The towpath currently ends at Meadow Lane Lock in Nottingham, and for some years there have been aspirations to connect the canal towpath to other leisure routes along the River Trent and to provide a route to Beeston Lock.
After several years of investigations and feasibility studies, a scheme has been designed to connect the canal towpath and river bank near Meadow Lane Lock, creating a 10-mile circular route as part of what is known as the ‘Big Wheel’ leisure route, while retaining all existing water-based access.
To connect the towpath to the Trent embankment, a bridge over the lock and an elevated walkway on the riverside will be constructed, all of which will be higher than the river flood levels.
The £1.5 million project will create a green, traffic-free route to Nottingham city centre for walkers, cyclists, boaters and disabled visitors by providing the key missing link between the existing canal towpath and Victoria Embankment.
Planned improvements include the installation of a wider footbridge and the creation of a public rest area as well as a river-viewing platform. In addition, the scheme will create more visitor moorings for boats along the River Trent and an improved boater amenity building. The towpath will also be resurfaced, completing the final stage of the ongoing development work, which has taken place over the last five years along the Nottingham Beeston Canal.
The wider regeneration context
The programme, which has been championed by Nottingham Waterside Limited (NWL), is to provide an important gateway to Nottingham’s ‘Big Track’ sustainable circular transport route through the city centre and provide an attractive link to Nottingham’s largest regeneration areas – the Waterside Regeneration Zone.
The regeneration is being funded by various partners including British Waterways, East Midlands Development Agency (emda),Nottingham City Council and the Homes & Communities Agency , as part of the Growth Point Initiative.
Work on site started on 23 February 2009 and is due to be completed by August 2009. Local residents and businesses were informed in advance of construction commencing. Existing use of the towpath will not be affected and disruption to boaters is hoped to be kept to a minimum, with restricted lock passage in place during designated time slots. Morrison Construction is the main contractor for the works, and construction of the project is now also being assessed under CEEQUAL.