BEDFORD-MILTON KEYNES WATERWAY NEWS
Just over 200 years ago Samuel Whitbread, MP for Bedford, was the driving force behind the plan to create a waterway linking the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union) with the Great Ouse at Bedford. In April, Sir Samuel Whitbread, his great-great-great grandson, was named as the first Patron of the Trust. Sir Samuel is former Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.
Sir Samuel commented: “Two hundred years ago, a fourteen-mile long canal linking Bedford with the then Grand Junction Canal was proposed at a cost of over £100,000. In spite of the support of the Duke of Bedford and Samuel Whitbread, there was some doubt as to whether the amount of traffic could justify the expense, and the canal never materialised. At that time, income would have come from the transport of corn to Birmingham and Manchester, with the ‘back carriage’ bringing coal, iron and manufactured goods. Today, canals depend on leisure, sport and recreation, and home-buyers are often keen to acquire waterside properties. I very much hope that the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust will be able to complete what my ancestor supported but failed to bring to fruition. It is indeed a very exciting project which I am glad to support.” B&MK Trust Director John Best has been appointed as Chair of the South-East Region Partnership. He will also sit on the Canal &River Trust’s National Council and will represent local groups interested in waterways including boaters, other waterway users and businesses. He is a former Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council. He was formerly secretary of the Lee Valley Association which promoted community activity on and around the waterway. In January, a Planning application by Persimmon Homes for over 600 houses and local facilities at Fields Road, Wootton, on the Waterway route, was approved by Bedford Borough Council. The key outcome was a requirement that:
Bring & Buy? The Committee has discussed the idea of a Bring and Buy table to raise Branch funds other Branches have tried this with some success. We think that it needs a volunteer to run it, and that there should be s afe gu ar ds aga i n st t he accumulation of unsaleable items, including, perhaps, that unsold items are removed at the end of the meeting by those who offered them. If you would like to take this on, or have ideas about it, please contact Peter Caswell. Page 14
* Persimmon Homes must transfer the Waterway land to the Borough Council including funding for the management of the land as open space. * Persimmon Homes is required to offer to install the cycleway/towpath parallel to the waterway cut when the development reaches a certain stage (or make a financial contribution to the Council instead). * The Council will be responsible for making the full waterway cut. * The contractors for the A6/A428 link of the Bedford Western Bypass will be required to make the full waterway cut and use the clay/soil as fill for the road works - this should happen in 2013. The Council also secured significant provision for expanding the Forest of Marston Vale, through which the Waterway will pass. Contractual and timing issues remain to be resolved, but this Planning decision opens up the possibility that this site (together with the Marston Vale Innovation Park site) can provide most of the clay fill for the A6/A428 Link. This would be through excavation of a series of linear ponds along the line of From B&MKWT newsletter, April 2012. the Waterway.
The journal of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association