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24 September 2014

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Canal Link
The link crossing the Pier Head

Canal link to Liverpool's waterfront

By Ben Romberg
A historical canal route linking Liverpool and Leeds is to be completed by British Waterways, a connection between Trafalgar Dock and Canning Dock via the Pier Head.

Canal Facts

There are 27,000 boats on inland waterways and the Liverpool Canal Link is expected to entice more than 4,500 boat visits to Liverpool's waterfront each year, adding colour and vibrancy to the currently underused water-space.

British Waterways, which owns and operates Liverpool South Docks, is the public corporation that attends for the 2,000-mile network of canals and rivers in England, Scotland and Wales.

Work has begun on the long planned extension to the Leeds-Liverpool canal providing a link with the south docks system.

British Waterways received approval from Liverpool City Council for the new 2.5 kilometre (1.4 mile) canal linking the docks to the rest of the country’s canals.

Canal boats as well as commercial ships will be able to navigate through the terminus at Stanley Dock and towards the Pier Head.

Work on the new waterway is due to be completed by the end of 2007 in readiness for Liverpool’s 800th anniversary and the Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008.

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott who was promoting the Canal links as part of the Northern Way initiative last year said it was fitting that the canal link be restored as northern cities start to rebuild their links and work together.

He said: "The Leeds & Liverpool Canal was once the backbone of the northern economy. Over the last decade we have seen a renaissance for our waterways, with increased investment and regeneration work, led by British Waterways, bringing waterway life and a great leisure facility back to the people."

An estimate by British Waterways claims that the link will attract and extra 200,000 visitors to Liverpool as well as an additional £1.9 million. The canal link will also generate an extra 200 jobs in the Merseyside area.

Robin Evans chief executive of British Waterways said: "We are thrilled that funding for the Liverpool Canal Link has been secured.

"The restoration is great news for boaters and for everyone in Liverpool looking forward to the Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008."
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott

"Historically canals have been at the forefront of economic development. Boats will once again be able to cruise over the Pennines from Leeds to Liverpool and into the city's world famous South Docks."

Although the scheme has won the approval of Liverpool City Council, not everyone is pleased with the proposed link. The Victorian Society has registered its objection saying the canal should be re-routed.

Dale Dishon – Northern & Welsh Architectural Adviser of the Victorian Society said: "In principle we are not against extending the Leeds to Liverpool canal into Canning Dock. However, any proposals for this would have to be carefully harmonised with the monuments and listed buildings in its vicinity.

"In our opinion it would be preferable for the canal to take a different route, behind the Three Graces along the Strand and avoid having a negative impact on the Pier Head."

Dock work
Draining of docks during work

One of the biggest new stretches of waterway will see a 470-metre long channel between Trafalgar Dock and Waterloo Dock passing in front of the Liver Building.

The riverside walkway from Dukes Mast to the Museum of Liverpool Life including Canning Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists during the refurbishment of the docks.

The Canning River entrance gate and its associated structures are undergoing work in preparation of the new canal system.

There will be a new lock system to enable canal boats to reach Canning Dock and a new channel linking Princes Dock with the Pier Head situated near to the former floating roadway.

Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision and the Mersey Dock & Harbour Company are all supporting the project.

Funding mainly comes from the European Objective One in addition to money previously pledged by the North West Development Agency (£7.5 million), English Partnerships (£1.7 million) and British Waterways (£210,000).

The route was the most popular proposed canal route in a public survey carried out in England in 2001 - it was favoured by 77% of respondents.

last updated: 12/01/06
Have Your Say
What do you think of the new canal link? Should it be extended? Is it in keeping with the Three Graces? Add your comments here.
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Peter J Hart
Most original idea for regeneration in years. It should have a most positive and beneficial impact along the Leeds / Liverpool canal and not just Liverpool Central Docks, Pier Head and South Docks....excellent news. Now get the `Cruise Liner terminal built......`

James Simpson
I'm very plesed about the proposed canal way i hope that this may encourage my parents to take up canal boating the more ways to enter and see the city the better for everyone cocncerned

Great news but how about spending some money on outlying areas of the city, the canal in some parts is a disgrace, full of litter and dog dirt, will that attract visitors, I think not

This willthe icing of an already beautiful city.

Alan Poole
Excellent idea. It's just a shame that the Deputy Prime Minister wasn't as astute about the proposed tram system for Liverpool!

DR Harold
about time to ive been hoping this would start soon apart from the goverment taking all the money for the capital of culture for the olympics were we have no one there who can do anything

Margaret Dempsey
I think it would be great just hope its not all talk. It would be so different from other cities and I think it would compliment the three Graces. But lets hope it doesn't go the way of the trams feasco how much time dose it take to get these things going if its all to be done by 2008

Brilliant news. I think that this, for its price, is one of the most effective schemes for the Pier Head. It will bring increased activity in an area that is frankly a little desolate. The Three Graces should never be allowed to exist in "Splendid Isolation" and must be integrated into a living, breathing, and CHANGING city. No area should be treated as sacrosanct and I think this design harmonises well with the existing buildings, whilst increasing the number of local people who use the area.

Anthony Aughterson
Terrific article! Very interesting. Great to hear that the government is investing money in the parts of the country where it is needed.

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