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May 2019

TOWPATH TELEGRAPH Journal of the Inland Waterways Association’s Milton Keynes Branch

Spring Clean-up Family Canal Camps Fenny Lock progress News from BCS, B-MKWT and WAT Waterways in Progress - new IWA report CRT Regional structure “still in a state of flux” A floating market gathered at the Globe, Linslade, over the Easter weekend, offering everything from greetings cards to candles, leather goods to New Age crystals. It was organised by the Roving Canal Traders Association, a non-profit association that supports and promotes Canal & River Trust registered roving traders. It has over 100 members. More info from Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 Web: A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 612245. Registered as a charity no.212342.

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Welcome to May 2019 Towpath Telegraph Summer has come early this year—good news for our Clean-up in early April, and also for progress at the work sites on the Buckingham and Wendover Arms. Let’s hope for good weather for our Lock Help weekend in May and for our attendance at the Linslade Festival in July. Please get in touch with Pat Durham if you can help at either of these events. Meanwhile we hope you enjoy this (guaranteed Brexit-free) edition!

Chairman’s Column GDPR, new members, and receiving TPT electronically Human arm found during Canal Clean-up! Surveys to decide future work on Wendover Arm B-MKWT Chair visit IWA MK Branch Diary Branch news Sheila Smith Three Locks Pumphouse work almost complete Fenny Lock is ready for the summer! WRG Family Canal Camps Buckingham Canal Society continues progress Mikron Theatre summer tour Waterways in Progress—a new IWA report The Editor’s Page CRT Regional structure “still in a state of flux” Getting in touch with MK Branch

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Chairman’s Column Our recent Clean-up weekend at the beginning of April yielded the usual haul of assorted scrap metal and other detritus. Encouraging however was the apparent reduction in rubbish encountered along the towpath and adjoining hedgerows. I must express my thanks to the Branch’s team of loyal supporters who again supported the event; in particular James Griffin and Athina Beckett for the provision of motive power to move the hopper and pan, and to Marie and Vernon Draper for the tea-boat service, appreciated as always. Once again CRT provided the necessary support and “heavy muscle” to help us along the cut through Milton Keynes. The Parks Trust again provided valuable support, in planning the event and also on the weekend itself. It is the growing and enthusiastic involvement of local corporates that is encouraging - mostly high-profile businesses, each anxious to fulfil its community support programme, involving staff in a worthwhile and effective way. We shall need a waiting list soon! Page 2

Tea-break, with refreshments much appreciated by all. Picture: Les Franklin.

Chairman’s Column—continued. The Clean-up necessitated the crossing of the site of the new marina at Campbell Park. This plan caused some bemusement with the contractors, but eventually they saw the benefits of acceding to our request and happily escorted us across the site, along the refurbished towpath. A matter of a few weeks from being re-opened, the towpath area has been re-fettled, and new trees and shrubs planted. (See the full report of the Clean-up on Pages 4 - 5.) The new marina is in water and awaits its first boats. The short stump of the start to the Bedford - Milton Keynes Waterway has been equipped with (temporary) pontoons, to accommodate a handful of narrow-beam boats. Although outside the marina boundary, they will be under the management of the operating company, with the view that this will prevent the creation (by default) of long-term moorings. The overall impression gained was that the amenity will be of benefit to the whole community, and it is to be hoped that this marks the start of steady progress in the construction of the B - MK Waterway itself, with all the cruising options that this promises. But as we (and Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust) have learnt, obstacles are found with regularity. The rapid decision to upgrade the A421 from Magna Park to M1 Junction 13 was a bitter blow, negating nearly all the hard work done to develop the new waterway along this corridor. The road development is now underway, with a cursory nod towards the canal’s route by way of a raised section of road (into which a suitable large-bore conduit can be fitted at a later date). Now this is the bit I find exasperating! All modes of transport are under the responsibility of one Government department (I will not mention the minister’s name!). Government stated policy is to promote waterways as a sustainable, eco-friendly means of transport, but I see no real joined-up thinking - whereby plans might be properly combined and costs shared and saved – not even within that one department! No doubt even more expense will accrue with the new East/West Expressway now announced. Thought provoking? I hope so. But do not let that deter you from a joyful cruising season, or whatever your interest in the waterways that we treasure and of which we are custodians. I shall do the same, this summer afloat on the Canal du Midi – with the inevitability of much by way of comparison – through wine-coloured glasses! Tim Armstrong, Branch Chairman.

GDPR, new members, and receiving TPT electronically Under the GDPR legislation effective from May 2018, we are no longer allowed to publish the names of IWA members who have recently joined the Branch. All new members should receive a welcome contact from our Membership Secretary Pete Bickers. We very much hope to see you at our Branch meetings and other activities. Please introduce yourselves to one of our Committee members (those wearing IWA badges). Existing members who have previously chosen to receive email reminders when new editions of TPT are available may receive a printed copy this time. This is because, under GDPR, we need to have a record of when you requested TPT by email. This information was not collected before GDPR came into force, so you need to tell us again. If you wish to continue to receive the email reminders, please email Page 3

“Human arm” found during Canal Clean-up! On 5 – 6 April, Branch members were joined by volunteers from local businesses and the public, to give the waterway through the city a thorough spring clean. On the Friday, we covered the 6-miles from Fenny Stratford to Giffard Park; Saturday’s stretch was the four miles from Giffard Park to Galleon Wharf, Wolverton. 76 volunteers attended over the two days. Attendance on Friday was 55; Saturday 39. 18 volunteers worked both days. Total hours worked was a magnificent 478, not including the many hours spent organising the event. Two children who took part received our coveted "Order of the Grapnel" Certificates as mementos. Once again, we were supported by Canal & River Trust who provided safety equipment, workboats, a dredger with crew, and volunteers. James Friday morning coffee break: we already have a bed, Griffin of Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd provided sponsorship, spegarden chairs, and several trolleys! cial equipment, and skippered "Ocean Princess" as the hopper tug. The Parks Trust sent volunteers too. Employees from Leica Geosystems AG and John Lewis also took part, fulfilling community commitments. Rubbish from the towpath and hedges was left at the water’s edge for collection by the hopper crew. Rubbish from the far side of the canal was collected by volunteers working from the pan, towed by "Brown Trout" skippered by Jonathan Brown. Vernon and Marie Draper manned the tea-boat, which provided much-appreciated refreshments.

Rubbish from just one hole in the hedge being loaded on to the hopper. Page 4

Human arm found during Canal Cleanup! - continued. The haul amounted to an estimated weight of around eight tons. Finds included the usual supermarket trolleys and bikes, a bed, an airbed, several mattresses, garden chairs, traffic cones, timber, a tennis racquet, boots and shoes, and a kitchen sink. The most bizarre finds were lots of lemons, and an arm from a shopwindow mannequin - we didn't find the rest of her! At the Campbell Park marina development, the towAbove: “End of the Line” for Bryan path volunteers were escortand the hopper crew. Picture: ed through the site, giving Vernon Draper. them the chance to briefly view the site and cross the Right: Caroline aboard the pan recently installed three-way with the mannequin’s arm. bridge. It was also interesting to see the new spur for the Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway, albeit fitted with piers for pontoons for the time being. No cleaning-up was done as we passed through. Thanks to local pubs and other businesses who displayed posters, to BBC Three Counties Radio for a live telephone interview with your Editor on the Thursday prior to the event, and also to the passers-by who praised our efforts. Finally, of course, a BIG THANK YOU to all the volunteers who turned out to help return the waterway to how it ought to look, for the enjoyment of everyone, even those who thoughtlessly dump their rubbish. Our next Clean-up will take place in the autumn. Report: Les Franklin. Pictures: Les Franklin except where stated.

Boat Safety Certification Alan Stewart

Lloyds Academy Diploma in Small Craft Surveying Ex-Merchant Marine Engineer

Authorised Boat Safety Scheme Examiner Visit my website: Contact me by phone on 01234 767156 or mobile 07976 900113 Alternatively e-mail me at: Page 5

Surveys to decide future work on Wendover Arm During last autumn's weed cutting by Canal & River Trust's contractors, over 40 tons of vegetation was removed, leading to improved flow from Wendover, and a much smarter-looking waterway. In February, the abutment walls of former Bridge 4 (swingbridge) were exposed. The walls proved not to be stable or watertight, so will probably have to be restored. Further work is required in order to document the structures fully. Volunteers have moved on to Stage 4 of Phase II, east of Whitehouses. In March, despite Storm Freya, good progress was made, with lining having reached a point 60 metres short of Bridge 4. A short stretch still needs to be lined at Whitehouses; this will be done upon completion of the underwater wall in front of the overflow arches there. The next bund may be in the form of stop planks at Bridge 4, rather than a soil bund, with the advantage that the dumper route to this point can be landscaped when convenient. The area around the Whitehouses site and eastwards to Bridge 4 has much potential as a picnic area/wildlife reserve/nature trail. The Trust is seeking volunteers interested in forestry, gardening or landscaping, to develop this area. Dead elders and shrubs have already been removed, to give access for diggers and dumpers to remove tree Lining progressing towards Bridge 4 (in middle distance). Picture: Brian roots and re-contour this area, which can then be Goldsmith, courtesy WAT. grassed and planted with new trees and wild flowers. Eventually seating, information boards and low-level structures denoting the outlines of the original Whitehouses buildings will be installed. A CCTV survey of the old pipe under the canal bed is proposed, from Bridge 4 to Tringford, to determine its condition, and whether it should be capped, filled to prevent collapse, left as a possible land drain or abandoned. The decision will be made with CRT once the survey information is to hand. The infill tip at Little Tring is also to be surveyed. It will be remembered that the discovery of contamination in the infill led to the withdrawal of the Heritage Lottery bid. A detailed study has been commissioned to find out what the infill contains, in order to decide whether it can be excavated to fulfil the still-preferred option of keeping to the original route, rather than digging a by-pass cut. Sampling began in March. The Trust will hold its Restoration Open Day on Sunday 7 July. A minibus will be available to the restoration site from Little Tring. There will be no Grand Draw this year. Whilst very successful over the years, it is not considered viable now that IWA has decided to withdraw from allowing tickets to be sent with printed Branch newsletters.

From Wendover Arm News, Spring 2019, and information from Michael Wright.

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BMKWT Chair visits IWA MK Branch Our guest speaker at the 21 March Branch meeting was Jane Hamilton, Chair, Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust. Jane, who has been involved with the Trust for the past five years, described the Trust's vision for the Waterway Park with the help of a concise Powerpoint presentation. Jane summarised aspects of the Trust's activity since its foundation in 1996, including advocacy of the Waterway Park as an enhancement to the Oxford-Cambridge arc development, promotion of the route to close the gap in the waterway network, and building membership to 600. The John Bunyan boat has been crucial to the Trust's work, as a social enterprise, as a promoter of the Trust's aims, and as a vital (now debt-free) income stream. Other organisations are now interested in running boats like the John Bunyan.

The new spur for the B-MK Waterway, with piers for pontoons for the time being. Picture: Les Franklin.

Jane stressed that none of the agencies partnering the Trust has the job of building the waterway; the aim is to persuade others to build it. For this, the project must be built into the Planning brief for the Oxford-Cambridge arc, alongside East-West Rail and the OxfordCambridge Expressway. Consultants are helping the Trust build a convincing economic case for the waterway that predicts payoff twice over within 20-25 years of opening. The potential value of the waterway for water management has been recognised by the Environment Agency, and the Trust is collecting evidence for this. However, Jane remarked that in attending various conferences, she is constantly compelled to ask "Where are the policies and plans for the environment?" Summing up recent developments, Jane said that the Planning application for 5,000 homes in the Marston Valley will be considered in June. The spur from the Grand Union at Campbell Park has been constructed. The Trust aims to extend navigation to Kempston, and much dredging has been done, but a large lump of concrete still impedes passage for large craft like John Bunyan. After a break, Jane answered questions, covering the following points: The Scottish Lowland Canals have led to much local regeneration, with the Falkirk Wheel to the fore, and the Trust hopes to learn from this success. There is no Falkirk-style solution for Brogborough Hill as yet, and the scheme will need private investment. Jane recognised that potential investors will need to know who will run the waterway. Although the Consortium was set up as a delivery agency, that idea has now receded in favour of approaching Government agencies for funding. Although the local authorities did not back the A421 culvert, all are now aware of the financial commitment needed. Two small roads now being planned in Milton Keynes could pose future problems. The Trust was not previously consulted on Planning applications, but this has improved, and it is now fully involved in consultations for the Expressway.

From the presentation kindly sent by Jane Hamilton, and notes taken by Annie Roberts.

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Diary We hope you can join us at our outdoor events this summer. Our own events are in bold type; selected events organised by others are in regular type. Our 201920 meetings programme is in course of preparation, and we look forward to seeing you back at Bletchley Royal British Legion on 19 September. Saturday 18 May 11am—5pm

24 - 26 May (also 27 May subject to weather, manpower and traffic) 5 - 7 July Sunday 7 July

20 – 21 July

Open Day at Three Locks Pumphouse, MK17 9DD. To mark completion of the building’s restoration, join CRT for family fun, a photo exhibition, an exhibition about the restoration, and a chance to meet the engineers and heritage apprentices who worked on the restoration. See Page 9.

IWA MK Branch Lock Help Weekend, Three Locks. Sat evening (weather permitting): Bring-your-own barbecue. Our major fundraising event for waterway causes. If you can help, please contact Pat Durham. Ware Boat Festival: info at: Wendover Arm Trust Restoration Open Day. Watch volunteers restoring the canal, and enjoy some tea and cake! Parking at St Mary the Virgin, Church Lane, Drayton Beauchamp, HP22 5LU. Shuttle bus from Little Tring. (No Restoration Open Day in September this year.) Buckingham Canal Society Cosgrove Festival. Boats, stalls, food and drink at this low-key, friendly event.

Saturday 27 July

10 - 11 August

Branch stall at Linslade Canal Festival, Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, Linslade. Help us fly the IWA flag at this busy event. If you can help, please contact Pat Durham. Blisworth Festival: historic & trade boats, boat trips, food outlets, bars, kids’ activities, rare breeds, artisan foods, traders, live music, and more. Free parking, free entry and free mooring.

24 - 26 August

IWA Festival of Water, Lee Navigation at Waltham Abbey. Info at:

Thurs 19 September

IWA Milton Keynes Branch meeting: David Tucker presents videos of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, MK3 6PU

20 - 22 September

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Chiltern Branch weekend away, visiting Shropshire Union Canal and Ironbridge Gorge Museums. Friday: 3-hour escorted cruise at Norbury, with fish & chip lunch. Saturday: view Montgomery Canal restoration progress, with lunch. Sunday: full day at Ironbridge Gorge, with morning guided tour, and free afternoon to explore Blists Hill Victorian village. £285 pp for dinner, b and b, sharing twin or double room at Telford Hotel & Golf Resort. Single supplement £65. Non-IWA members welcome. Contact Colin Bird at or 01932 248178.

Branch news

EMAIL ADDRESSES: Following the problems with "" email addresses (see January TPT, Page 14), Committee members and other active members are now being set up with what should be a permanent solution, based on Microsoft's Office 365 facility, which also has cloud storage and other services. The temporary “” addresses that have been in use for a while will cease to work shortly, and “” (without the “team”) will apply in most cases. Some Committee members are having teething troubles as we go to press, but we hope that all new addresses will be in working order soon. In case of difficulty, please email

Sheila Smith We were saddened to learn of the death of Sheila Smith, wife of Alan, on 16 March.

SHREWSBURY AND NEWPORT CANAL TRUST: Following Brian Nelson's talk on the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals, the Branch is now a member of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal The Branch was well repTrust for two years. Any member interested in seeing their resented at Sheila's funernewsletter should contact David Tucker, and he will send it on. al, which was held at St GUIDE LEAFLETS: The Branch's Guide Leaflets for visitors arriving at Cosgrove or Fenny Stratford by boat or on foot have been revised. They give locations of pubs, restaurants and takeaways, and list shops and general services likely to be useful to passing visitors. They are available from our information boxes (open with Watermate key) at Cosgrove and Fenny, or online at

PUBLICITY: The strip cartoon-style posters that have appeared at our outdoor events for several years are being replaced with new posters. The old ones contained dated pictures and, though very informative, could not be read at a distance. A new Branch welcome leaflet is also in course of preparation.

Andrew's Parish Church, Biggleswade, on 18 April. Her wide interests included bellringing, art and home cooking—she was renowned for her biscuits, cakes and other treats baked for outdoor Branch events. (See last September's TPT for Sheila's recipe for delicious cheese savouries.) We send our sincere condolences to Alan and his family.

Three Locks Pumphouse work almost complete Funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Canal & River Trust is completing restoration of the Grade II listed pumping station at Three Locks. An initial £8,000 Lottery grant in 2015 funded design and development. Work on the £700,000 scheme began in March 2017, with £391,100 Lottery funding, but was stalled for some time over Planning and grant matters. The refurbished building will have space for a business tenant and accommodation for CRT volunteer lock-keepers, and will also continue to house the electric back-pump that replaces the original steam-driven pump. An Open Day is planned for Saturday 18 May, 11am-5pm, when the public can view the refurbishment, speak to volunteers about their involvement, meet members of the construction team, and take part in family activities. Some work on the building may remain to be done after the Open Day. A series of tie-in events is being staged—more information at:

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Fenny Lock is ready for the summer! With the arrival of better weather, Pat Durham and her volunteers have been hard at work at Fenny Stratford Lock and its surroundings. Pat writes:

On 30 March, nine volunteers attended and worked a total of 39½ hours at Fenny Stratford Lock. We made a start on painting this time as the weather was good. This included two lock beams and handrails, the frame of the lock sign, some of the bollards and half the lock coving. We also weeded the path and sprayed bio-friendly weed killer (my homemade brew from white vinegar, salt and washing up liquid) on anything that looked green, apart from the flowerbeds. We also uncovered the paving under the second seat. Another work party on 12 April left the lock looking very smart. Above, and below, left: Pat Durham and work party volunteers at Fenny Lock.

Above: Rodney Evans has refurbished the information box at the Pumphouse.

We have fingers crossed for our application to Dobbies for some shrubs to replace the lavender and rosemary bushes that outgrew their beds. At the time of writing, further work parties are planned for Saturday 27 April and Friday 10 May. New volunteers are always welcome. Please contact Pat Durham (see back page) for details.

WRG Family Canal Camps After three successful weekends and fantastic feedback in 2018, Waterway Recovery Group has extended the programme for 2019 to cover three residential weekends for families. These weekends allow children from a young age to find out about canal restoration and heritage, work outdoors and learn new skills, in company with those they trust. This year, three Family Canal Camps are planned: Uttoxeter Canal on 14 - 16 June, Grantham Canal on 16 - 18 August, and one nearby on the Wendover Arm on 25 - 27 October. More details at: Page 10

Buckingham Canal Society continues progress

The Buckingham Canal Society AGM took place on Saturday 23 March at Buckingham Community Centre, with 48 people attending. Terry Cavender gave a talk on the progress made on the restoration of the canal and Bridge One, and this was followed by a very interesting talk by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Trust. Our volunteers took part in the nationwide "Keep Britain Tidy" event on Thursday 4 April. We litter-picked rubbish around Lock Lane and the towpath, and cleared eight barrow-loads of rubbish from Cosgrove Lock. In April and May, the students from Milton Keynes College are back, helping to re-point the original part of Bridge One. A lot of work has also been carried out on the towpath, and this work is continuing on both sides of the bridge. The soil removed from the bridge is now being riddled, and will be returned to the towpath. The canal has now been re-watered almost up to Bridge Two, and is making quite a difference to wildlife and to the people enjoying a walk along the towpath. BITM WRG joined us for a weekend on 16 - 17 March, and London WRG are back with us again on 11 - 12 May when we hope a slab pour will take place at Bridge One. Other weekends are planned with various WRG groups over the next six months. We also have several outside companies booked to work alongside our volunteers from April to September. All IWA members would be very welcome to come and see the progress being made at Bridge One, Cosgrove and our other sites. Don't forget that the BCS Canal Festival & Craft Fair takes place at Cosgrove over the weekend of 20 – 21 July. Report and picture: Athina Beckett, Buckingham Canal Society.

Excellent Boats on a Beautiful Canal Our base at Linslade is within weekend reach of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, or the Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury. Choice of exciting one- or two-week cruises including the Thames. 35 luxury boats, 2 to 8 berth.

Boat Builders - Repairs - Dry dock - Blacking - Repaints Waterside holiday cottage


Rothschild Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2TF Tel: 01525 372355 Fax: 01525 852308 Members of IWA, APCO, BMF, B&MK Waterway Trust, Wendover Arm Trust, Buckingham Canal Society, Aylesbury Canal Society

d s an e k a re ir rt b eekly h o h S w Page 11

Mikron Theatre summer tour This year marks Mikron’s 48th year of touring professional theatre. This summer they are once again touring the waterways aboard their narrowboat, Tyseley. Local dates and venues are below. Their two shows this year are: ALL HANDS ON DECK—New WRNS recruits Ginger and Lily are looking for wartime adventure. Lily wants to serve on dry land but Ginger is desperate to go to sea – and the sailors can’t believe their luck! The show pays tribute to the wartime women who pushed the door to opportunity firmly open. Full of dots, dashes, semaphore and song, Ginger and Lily find themselves in uncharted waters on a journey they’ll never forget. REDCOATS—Billy Butlin used Shakespeare himself to sell his seaside dream. Join the cast as they delve into holiday huts, bonny babies and knobbly knees with guest appearances from Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields and Laurel and Hardy. Recall 80 years of Butlins splendour with Mikron’s trademark mix of fun, pathos and songs. Friday 14 June, 7.30pm: Redcoats - Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE Saturday 15 June, 1.00pm: All Hands on Deck - The Old Rectory, Blisworth, NN7 3BJ Sunday 16 June, 3.00pm: All Hands on Deck - Lionhearts Cruising Club, Milton Keynes, MK14 5EL Tuesday 18 June, 7.00pm: Redcoats - Wyevale Garden Centre, Wendover, HP22 6BD Thursday 20 June, 7.30pm: All Hands on Deck - Globe Inn, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 2TA Friday 21 June, 7.30pm: Redcoats - Grand Junction Arms, Tring, HP23 5QE Tuesday 25 June, 7.30pm: All Hands on Deck - Rising Sun, Berkhamsted, HP4 2EG Wednesday 26 June, 7.30pm: Redcoats - Rising Sun, Berkhamsted, HP4 2EG Thursday 27 June, 7.30pm: All Hands on Deck - Three Horseshoes, H Hempstead, HP1 2RZ Fri 28 June, 7.30pm: Redcoats - Fishery Wharf Café, H Hempstead, HP1 1NA

Many shows are held outdoors. Please dress accordingly and take blankets etc. Please check details at:


tel: 01908 672672

Modern full-service marina in the heart of Milton Keynes

10 & 15 year Leasehold moorings available at discounts


15 miles of lock-free cruising

Brokerage New and used boats for sale

Onsite facilities include Chandlery & full services Workshop, slipway

Secure car parking Laundry

Boat Brokerage Widebeam facilities

MK Afloat

Day Boat Hire Book now

Pub with carvery restaurant Indian & Chinese takeaway

For Moorings Availability and Prices, visit Page 12

Waterways in Progress—a new IWA report "Restoration schemes are not just a means to an end; they have a life of their own and can bring quantifiable benefits at every stage." So says IWA Vice-President David Suchet in a video that supports a new IWA report, Waterways in Progress. The report and video, launched at the IWA’s Restoration Conference on 30 March, seek to show how restoration schemes can bring benefits to communities, even when many years from completion. The aim of the report is to give restoration groups the tools and information they need to confidently approach their local authority and other funders in order to get their proposed project off the ground. It is the brainchild of Waterway Recovery Group Chairman Mike Palmer, and comprises twelve strong case studies from across the UK, about canals both restored and still striving towards completion, which show the benefits that restorations can bring to communities from Day One. The case studies are grouped under several loose “themes”, but several of them could come under more than one of these:

David Suchet fronts the video supporting the Waterways in Progress report.

Channelling Regeneration - A waterway restoration can act as a catalyst for a much wider regeneration of the areas adjoining it – from small housing schemes to the redevelopment of entire brownfield sites. Tourism can be stimulated, and income streams for restorations can be generated from community facilities such as restaurants, pubs and visitor centres. Promoting Personal Development and Wellbeing - Restoration schemes can be geared to give skills training to young people, and support vulnerable adults as they gain confidence to enter or re-enter the workplace. The health benefits of getting involved in restoration, and of simply relaxing by or on the water, are also recognised. Creating Community Spaces - A restoration in progress can act as a force for social cohesion, providing opportunities for a wide range of groups to meet, giving the community a sense of pride in its past, and involving locals in the restoration itself. Enhancing Heritage and Habitats - The canal system effectively forms a huge linear National Park. Careful planning can reveal the historical significance of the surviving structures and bring them back into full use, whilst preserving and encouraging the biodiversity that has established itself during abandonment. Such schemes can tap into funding by bringing together groups with differing agendas but who share a restoration vision. The report ends by stressing the importance of partnership in sourcing funds and involving local people, and with a plea that the report should not be taken as an excuse to scale back ambition and concentrate on short-term aims. “Dream big, be bold, press for full-length navigation with all the bells and whistles. But never forget, along the way, that opportunity knocks at every stage.” Read the full report and watch the video at:

From IWA web site and news releases, April 2019.

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The Editor’s Page The Waterways in Progress report (see Page 13) sets out ideas that might be blindingly obvious to us, but are too often missed or disregarded by the decisionmakers among government, local authorities and funders. But it might repay our local restoration groups to study it, and ask whether there are untapped opportunities to make more of their unfinished—or barely commenced—schemes. For the Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway, a scheme that currently has only a few metres of canal at Campbell Park, the John Bunyan is a shining example of what the report points to—a thriving money-spinner that also promotes public support. Could the Trust also consider negotiating terms for a public presence at the Campbell Park development, in the heart of Milton Keynes, perhaps as a café or information centre? Formerly, the Wendover Arm Trust made good use of its connected length by holding an annual Festival on its banks. It made money and it raised awareness in the community. That option is now sadly closed, but I wonder if there is scope for a regular trip-boat, either on the section from Bulbourne or on the isolated restored length at Drayton Beauchamp. The Buckingham Canal Society has already done a great deal to involve local schools, colleges, businesses and other groups in its restoration efforts, and its annual Cosgrove Festival is a useful fund-raiser and flag-waver. The BCS, too, might be able to consider a trip-boat when it can open a long enough navigable stretch to make it worthwhile. Like the examples in the report, our local schemes are already benefitting the community, and there may be room for further initiatives. Powers-that-be, please note! Les Franklin, Editor.

Willowbridge Marina Willowbridge Marina is a working boatyard specialising in lifting boats in and out of the water, as well as on and off transport. We are a family-run business, working hard to provide services to canal boat owners and users in the Milton Keynes area. We offer the following services: - Well-stocked chandlery, including stainless steel fastenings and Calor Gas fittings; - Red diesel; - All boat services, including coal, LPG and pump-out; - All mooring services, including limited linear moorings, wireless internet and power, toilets, showers, laundry and extensive storage ashore. We offer a 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members. Page 14

01908 643242

CRT regional structure “still in a state of flux” With the news that Tav Kazmi was due to leave Canal & River Trust in April, we asked the Trust for an update on its evolving regional structure, and received the reply below, stating that the regional structure is still “in a state of flux” but giving this update on what has happened so far: Regional Director is Ros Daniels. Deputy Director was Tav Kazmi but he has now left this role, and this role will cease to exist. Instead a new role has been made to replace it, this will be: Head of Operations London & South East – this has only this week been recruited for, and this will be Charlotte Wood. Charlotte is expected to be in post by May. Ian Final is still managing the Grand Union Canal in your area, but this is subject to change as the supervisor role has ceased to exist and is replaced with Area Operations Managers. We are still awaiting confirmation as to who has got these posts (likely to be received in the next upcoming weeks). Volunteer Leader – Laura Summerbell has been recruited for this role. She has already begun to tackle graffiti, litter, and vegetation issues with a variety of volunteering groups (Including ourselves, of course. Laura was most helpful during the recent Clean-up - Ed). Contract Services - this will be coming back into the region, but there will be a regional contract manager. This post has not yet been filled but, if you do have any issues to report, please notify the customer support team, and they will be able to look into these. Email address is now National Health & Safety Advisor is now Debbi Lumb (this role has not been decentralised). In the restructure there will also be a Customer Service and Boating Manager – this will be a useful contact around general boating related issues such as mooring availability, facilities etc. (The reply did not mention Sonny King, so we assume he remains as Volunteer Development Co-ordinator.—Ed.) THE



T: 01525 270214 E: Page 15

Getting in touch with MK Branch The Branch Committee is now mostly up and running with functioning“” addresses. Those having teething troubles as we go to press will be in working order as soon as possible. Please see Page 9.



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Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 2 April 2019.









Treasurer and Social Secretary:


Social Media and Data Holder:


Buckingham Canal ATHINA BECKETT Soc Representative: B-MK Waterway Trust Reporter:


Trade Representative:


Cleanup Supervisor:


Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme:


Volunteer organiser:


Editor and Publicity:

LES FRANKLIN (non-Committee)


VERNON DRAPER (non-Committee)


TONY BIRCH (non-Committee) Contact via Les Franklin.

IWA homepage: MK Branch pages: at above address, under “IWA Local”, select “Milton Keynes”. MK Branch Facebook page: Canal and River Trust: Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: Buckingham Canal Society: Wendover Arm Trust: Friends of the Canal Museum: Leighton Buzzard Canal Society:

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of The Inland Waterways Association or of the Milton Keynes Branch. They are however published as being of interest to members and readers.

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph May 2019  

The journal of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph May 2019  

The journal of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association