Stroud District Council was one of the first to fully capitalise on the economic benefit of a restoration project. In late 2008 they took on leadership of a Heritage Lottery funded project to restore a six-mile section of the Cotswold Canals. The decision was taken against a backdrop of recession and difficult financial and engineering challenges, but with huge community
Through the Phase 1A Stonehouse to Thrupp regeneration project, they have seen over £115m of private investment. This has transformed the area.
Formerly used as a car park, the canal here has been excavated to become a navigable channel once again, complete with a tripboat. The Ebley Mill building itself was previously converted into offices by Stroud District Council. Other parts of the complex now have new uses too and luxury houses face onto the canal, developers having been lured by the waterfront potential.
In all, some 550 new houses have been built, 62 hectares of brownfield land recycled and over 770 jobs created.
After the success of Ebley Mill, Stroud District Council is keen to repeat it at a site further along the canal. The £3m infrastructure works at Brimscombe Portwill provide 200 new homes, business units, community facilities and a canal marina in the Stroud Valley.