Canal consultancy projects

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss our work please don’t hesitate to call Richard Linington on 023 9248 1999 or email

Whilst a number of canals attract high levels of footfall, they face a number of significant financial challenges. The conservation and restoration of the historic fabric of canals and associated buildings and towpaths is never ending, the cost of seemingly small repair jobs can quickly escalate.

It is recognised that canals and other recreation services managed by Trusts and Councils are facing challenges in terms of working with less resources and cuts to their core funding programmes. There is now a driver to focus on commercial activities to generate income. A significant amount of our work is focussed on working with clients, helping them to identify and assess opportunities to generate additional income through trading activities. However, it is important to recognise that generating trading or earned income is not without its own challenges. It takes investment, specific resource requirements (often including recruiting new staff with specialist capabilities) and it can also take time to build capacity.

Developing a vision and action plan for the Basingstoke Canal

We have worked for Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council on a project on the Basingstoke Canal. Constructed between 1788 and 1794, The Basingstoke Canal runs for 32 miles through Hampshire to Surrey where it joins the Wey Navigation and beyond to the River Thames. It has a continuous tow path and has some 29 locks. Through a market review, site appraisals and in-depth consultation we developed a future Vision and Action Delivery Plan for the Canal.

As part of our work we also carried out a module of research among a wide range of users of the Basingstoke Canal, including hard to reach groups such as teenagers and we also contacted local businesses and landowners. The action plans focussed on a range of themed areas including product development, volunteering, marketing and governance. The work included looking at opportunities for the visitor centre and also the adjacent camping and touring field. Our work also set out a cost schedule and implementation timetable.

As a team we have also worked on a number of consultancy projects associated with canals and other waterbodies:

Carried out a feasibility for a flagship visitor centre and boating hub for the Broads Authority to support the development of tourism and boating

Carried out a feasibility study for a visitor facility for the Shropshire Wildlife Trust adjacent to the Llangollen Canal

Worked for Portsmouth Water advising on the leisure and recreational opportunities related to the proposed development of a Winter Storage Reservoir

Assessed opportunities to enhance the offer at Pooley, a community park which incorporates the Coventry Canal

Worked with Buckinghamshire County Council advising on developing income generating opportunities at Denham Country Park which the Grand Union Canal flows through

Developed the business plan for the Heart of the National Forest Visitor Centre which has an adjacent canal basin (the attraction is managed by our sister company and as a second phase has been extended and developed as CONKERS)

Developed a long-term vision for North Soar, a rural corridor to the south of Nottingham, based upon walking, cycling, horse riding and water-based recreation. The wider project also included the Grand Union Canal and Trent Navigation and the introduction of a marina.

Worked at Wigan Flashes, an important environmental, recreational and education wetland resource in near Wigan, which includes the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Worked with Kent County Council exploring uses for a countryside recreation site which included improving access to the River Stour.

Prepared an options review for a boatyard on The River Thames near Oxford.

Worked for FWAG to identify opportunities to enhance the recreation and educational experiences along the River Lambourne as part of an Audience Development Plan.

Tourism Partnership Mid Wales – stakeholder engagement, community consultation and survey research to inform the development of the tourism element of the spatial plan for Central Wales. The study area included the Llangollen Canal, the Montgomery Canal and Shropshire and Union Canal

Prepared a development strategy for the Waveney Valley which, incorporates the River Waveney. The Waveney Valley, including environmental enhancement schemes. The study analysed two major sites in particular, producing outline schemes for grant application and planning purposes

Find out about some of the canal and river consultancy projects we have worked on.