Issue date: 14th June 2012
IWA has committed £30,000 to keep the Chesterfield Canal Partnership going over the next two years.
The Chesterfield Canal Partnership was formed in 2002 with funding by Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire County Councils, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough and the districts of Bassetlaw, Chesterfield Borough and North-East Derbyshire; other members who have made contributions are IWA, Chesterfield Canal Trust and British Waterways. Following restoration of the Shireoaks to Kiveton Park section in 2006, Rotherham MBC’s donation changed to a grant to British Waterways for continued maintenance. Within the Partnership, it was financially possible to appoint a jointly funded Development Manager to move the whole project forward. However, Derbyshire County Council, the host for the Development Manager role, recently had to withdraw funding in order to create a broad-based Waterways Officer post focused on the waterways of Derbyshire. This would have meant that the Chesterfield Canal in Nottinghamshire and Rotherham would no longer have had the development support provided by the Canal Partnership officer. Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield Canal Trust and North East Derbyshire Council stated their intention to continue their financial support, and Staveley Town Council and the Parish Councils of Eckington and Rhodesia pledged additional financial support.
The other members of the Partnership agreed to use the Partnership’s financial surplus, built up over the years, to continue the Development Officer post, but there was still an operational deficit approaching £30,000.
At this point IWA agreed to fund continuation of the Development Manager Post over the next two years with a grant of up to £30,000 from the Keith Ayling legacy. Keith Ayling was chairman of Chesterfield Canal Society, later the Trust, for nearly twenty years and was the prime mover in the formation of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership ten years ago. The Association has taken the view that on his death in 2010 Keith had given the money to IWA so that it might be available in such an emergency as this, and IWA hopes that this offer might generate further donations.
Dr Geraint Coles, the Development Manager, (who is also a member of IWA’s Restoration Committee) will now be hosted by Chesterfield Borough Council with a view to establishing a canal regeneration company with charitable objectives that can become self-funding within two years. Geraint will continue to operate from Chesterfield Canal Trust’s office at Hollingwood Lock House, Works Road, Staveley.
Meanwhile, Derbyshire County Council is to appoint a county-wide canals officer who, as well as supporting the Chesterfield Canal, will provide the first County funded employee support for both the Cromford and Derby canal restorations.