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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Million pound Rochdale Canal bid would mean improvements to Visitor Centre

Calderdale Council's Cabinet is to discuss a proposal which could see around £1million made available to help people enjoy their visits to the Rochdale Canal.

Members will discuss a proposal to support a bid for £780,000 to the Heritage Lottery Fund when they meet next Monday (June 6). The bid is being submitted by Pennine Prospects with support from The Waterways Trust, which owns the Rochdale Canal.

The Council is being asked to give technical support, with Council officers working to help put the bid together.

The money would be used to:

  • Upgrade displays at the Canal Visitor Centre in Hebden Bridge
  • Install interpretation and signage at key points along the Calderdale length of the canal
  • Improve access to the canal
  • Provide more educational and promotional opportunities

If the bid is successful, it will be match funded through the South Pennine LEADER and the Local Transport Plan.

Developing a Linear Park along the canal corridor is a long-standing ambition of the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance programme. The South Pennine LEADER Action Group has allocated funds towards the project, and a team representing communities from Sowerby Bridge to Walsden, with specialist local history and ecological input, is working together to achieve this aim.

Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr. Barry Collins, says the improvements would be a real opportunity to help more people enjoy the canal and find out more about Calderdale's rich industrial heritage.

"The Canal and Visitor Centre in Hebden Bridge is a real asset. But it has remained largely unchanged since it opened in 2004 If we were successful in a bid we could make big improvements ? not only to the centre, but also by improving the information along the canal bank and making it easier for people to get to it in the first place.

"We also want to involve local communities, organisations and schools in trying to ensure that they have the chance to participate fully in developing interpretation and learning activities around the canal.

"This is a really exciting opportunity to get people involved in understanding the canal and its heritage."

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