Chester Lock May Unlock Deserted Waterways

Chester has canals, a tidal & a non tidal river but they’re under used, often derelict, unkempt & deserted, an IWA & CRT joint report claims. The top tourist destination has a unique waterway system but its regeneration and tourism potential has been neglected compared with other cities.

Dee Branch Chester - Harry Arnold

Over the last year, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has been working in partnership with the Chester Canal Heritage Trust and Canal & River Trust (CRT) to develop a strategy for Chester’s waterways – the River Dee and the Shropshire Union Canal – which would be a key element in the Chester One City Plan. A suggested vision document has been presented to Chester Renaissance.

The strategy states that the canal is under-used, the Dee Branch is becoming derelict and unkempt, the tidal Dee is all but deserted, the upper Dee is inaccessible to visiting craft and riverside walks are blighted by rampant and neglected vegetation.  But above all, Chester’s waterways are not exploited as an inter-linked system.

It says that the prime need is to connect the upper reaches of the Dee with the tidal Dee and the Shropshire Union Canal so that Chester becomes a worthwhile boating destination.  This could be achieved by building a lock adjacent to the Dee Weir on the Handbridge side of the river,  improving facilities around the Dee/canal entrance lock and making the Dee Branch of the canal navigable again.

See also our previous News Report – ‘Easier Access to River Dee for Boaters‘.

These improvements will promote wider multi-use of the waterways (both boating and pedestrian), which in turn will be the catalyst for stronger regeneration of Chester’s neglected waterside areas. CRT is in broad agreement with the proposals as outlined in the strategy.

Thanks to Harry Arnold and Waterway Images for this report and images.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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