An ambitious project to bring Louth Canal ‘back to life’ has been spearheaded by Victoria Atkins MP, who hopes to see the waterway opened up between Louth, Tetney Lock, and even the Humber estuary - providing a major boost for local tourism.
Ms Atkins held a ‘very productive’ meeting with local politicians and representatives from the Louth Navigation Trust, the Inland Waterways Association, and the Canal & River Trust on Friday (June 1) to discuss the various options for the future of the Canal.
The proposals could one day give boats the chance to enter the canal from the North Sea, and sail all the way inland towards Louth’s riverhead.
Ms Atkins said: “We’ve brought all the experts into a room to see what we can do to make the canal work for Louth again, and work for the surrounding areas.
“We’ve agreed that we’re going to set up a steering group to start achieving some small steps which will help bring the canal back to life.
“We know that this is a long term project - it’s going to take decades and it’s going to cost a great deal of money.
It’s a brilliant amenity that the town doesn’t fully utilise, but one day hopefully we will - it’s going to change!Louth Navigation Trust chairman, Roger Subden
“What we’d love to do is to open it up from the top of the Canal in Tetney, and all the way down to Louth.
“It would also be great if we could open up the entry point at the sea, and open it up to boats. But there’s a great big gas pipe in our way at the moment.
“So the first step is to see if we can tackle that, and - working with the companies involved - find a way of moving that gas pipe so that boats can navigate up and down. That’s the first thing the steering group will start working on.”
The steering group is aiming to form within the next few months, with further announcements expected later this year.
Ms Atkins added that the multi-user path project, spearheaded by the District Council, would also help attract more visitors to the area.
East Lindsey District Council leader, Councillor Craig Leyland, confirmed that ELDC’s recent purchase of the Navigation Warehouse will tie in with these ambitious plans.
Ms Atkins and Coun Leyland praised the hard work and dedication of the volunteers at the Louth Navigation Trust, with Ms Atkins saying that the Canal project will benefit from their ‘enthusiasm and expertise’ as it progresses.
Louth Navigation Trust chairman, Roger Subden, said: “Louth has a hidden gem here. It’s a facility that we don’t make as much use of as we could do.
“The Trust was originally formed to protect the historical element of the Canal that was still here, and now it’s about getting it up to its full potential.
“It’s a brilliant amenity that the town doesn’t fully utilise, but one day hopefully we will - it’s going to change!”