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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


News Archive 2007

Saul Wins Cup

The three villages of Saul, Fretherne and Framilode were awarded the Bledisloe New Small Village Cup for 2007, thanks in part to their canalside environment. The judges were particularly impressed with Saul Junction, noting ‘the well cut grass, clean toilets, interesting canal museum and café and mooring area’.

Pump-out at Purton
A new pump-out facility has been installed on the canal bank near the former mud suction plant at Purton. It was supplied by Lee Sanitation and was commissioned on 12 December.

Fosters on the Docks Re-opened
The restaurant/bar Fosters on the Docks re-opened on 10 December after suffering from overflowing drainage during the July floods. The refurbished restaurant has a new manager and offers new menus.

Plans for Merchants Quay Replacement
Crest Nicholson's plans for a replacement for the Merchants Quay building were made available for public consultation on 6 December. They show two five-storey buildings with pitched roofs, providing a total of 40 one-bed and 8 two-bed apartments on the upper floors and approximately 5000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

Demolition at Bakers Quay
The large shed at the northern end of Bakers Quay, formerly used as a car repair workshop, has been demolished to make way for part of the Gloucester Quays redevelopment scheme.

More Public Realm Completed
The paving and lighting of the new square between the Mariners' Chapel and the Barge Arm has been completed. The area includes a patio outside a planned restaurant, a number of flat-topped benches, a former crane post and some old railway lines which have been re-laid in situ.

Plans for Pillar & Lucy House
Plans have been submitted for the refurbishment and landscaping of Pillar & Lucy House on Bakers Quay to provide a pub/restaurant in the ground floor and basement with offices above. The proposals include new glazing, doors, canopies and balustrades and a paved square to the east that will give level entry into the ground floor. (App No 07/01511/LBC)

New Toilets in the Docks
Following the closure of the toilets in Merchants Quay, SWRDA has arranged for a portakabin to be stationed on the east side of the Victoria Dock to house temporary toilets until a new permanent facility can be provided within another building.

Museum Closed for Refurbishment
The National Waterways Museum closed on 25 November for a major refurbishment aimed to give the displays wider appeal, particularly to families and groups, ready for re-opening in May 2008. Operation of the cafe is being taken over by independent caterers who will provide additional investment ready for re-opening on 7 January.

Student in Canal at Llanthony
A student from the Gloucestershire College fell into the canal at Llanthony Quay while trying to retrieve a football that had been kicked on to the pontoon. He was not injured, but all students have been reminded of the need to be careful when near the water. (Citizen 19 Nov 2007)

North Warehouse Repairs
British Waterways are carrying out interim repairs on the North Warehouse at Sharpness to cover holes in the fabric, clean out gutters and repair down-pipes. A larger programme of work is planned for next year to "mothball" the building for long-term preservation.

Lightship Arrives at Sharpness
The former Spurn lightship was towed into Sharpness by the tug Sea Trojan on 16 November. (Photo) After a thorough overhaul by Sharpness Shipyard, the lightship is due to become a centre for complementary medicine to the south of Llanthony Bridge, Gloucester. (More details)

Security Fence at Sharpness
A security fence has been erected at Sharpness to limit access of unauthorised persons to operational areas around the lock and tidal basin. Access to the picnic site car park and viewpoint beside the entrance to the tidal basin is not affected.

New Building Site Underway
Work is underway on the canal-side site to the south of Monk Meadow Dock where Bloor Homes are due to build houses and apartments. Former timber sheds have been demolished and site preparation work is in hand.

Award for Work on Purton Hulks
On 10 November, the Nautical Archaeology Society presented their annual Adopt a Wreck award to Paul Barnett in recognition of his dedicated work in researching the history of the hulks in the barge graveyard at Purton and his enthusiasm for showing them to the public. Contact Paul for details of his future guided walks.

First Girders for New Bridge
The first girders for the bridge that will carry St Ann Way over the canal were brought to the site on 9 November. They were lifted on to a temporary support structure on which the bridge deck will be fabricated. (Photo)

Third Tower Crane
A third tower crane was erected on the construction site of the designer outlet centre adjoining Bakers Quay early in November.

Plaque at Barge Graveyard
On 1 November, a tall inscribed plaque was unveiled at Purton listing the names of the old vessels dumped on the Severn foreshore to help protect the canal embankment. The plaque was provided by British Waterways, based on research by Paul Barnett. (Photo)

Gloucester Tall Ships Festival
Five tall ships and two pilot cutters were on display for the Tall Ships Festival over the weekend 26-29 October, and there was also a good showing of well-decorated narrow boats. Huge crowds came to the docks to see the vessels and to enjoy a wide range of living history demonstrations, craft workshops, live music and children's entertainments. (More details & photos)

Official Launch of Gloucester Quays Scheme
The start of construction of the designer outlet centre in the Bakers Quay section of the Gloucester Quays redevelopment scheme was celebrated at a reception on 25 October. Guests were told that the whole scheme will now cost £300 million. (Citizen 26 Oct 2007)

Watershed Bungalow
The canal-side bungalow known as Watershed near Sellars Bridge was due to be sold at auction on 24 October, but the sale was postponed.

Volunteers Clean Up the Docks
Volunteers from Gloucester City Council, British Waterways and other organisations were busy on 23 October giving the main docks area a thorough clean up ready for the Tall Ships Festival at the weekend.

Bargain Hunt at Antiques Centre
Scenes for the BBC TV programme Bargain Hunt were recorded at the Antiques Centre on 21 October for broadcasting in February. Two couples were given money to buy items that will be auctioned later to determine who makes the most profit.

Museum Exhibits to be Refreshed
The National Waterways Museum will close to visitors in November to allow its exhibits to be refreshed, but this will not affect the popular Christmas cruises or the conference and meetings facilities. The new displays will be designed to appeal to all ages but particularly families, and the revitalised museum will reopen in May.

Two Square Sail Ships at Sharpness
Two ships from the Square Sail Shipyard's fleet arrived at Sharpness on 17 October. Earl of Pembroke and Phoenix were on their way to take part in the Tall Ships Festival at Gloucester Docks. (Photo)

Double Death in Tidal Basin
A father and son died when their family car was driven into the tidal basin at Sharpness on 8 October. It is thought that the father was distraught following the death of his wife the day before and did not believe he could cope with looking after his disabled son on his own. (Citizen 10 Oct 2007)

Farewell to Silo Landmark
The remainder of the former grain silo at Monk Meadow was demolished on 7 October as part of the preparations for the Gloucester Quays redevelopment scheme. The photo by Martin Turner shows the last vestiges of the silo in the background with some of the works for the new bridge in the foreground.

Lock Warehouse to Become Apartments
Gloucester planning committee have approved the conversion of the upper floors of the Lock Warehouse to apartments with retail on the ground floor on the condition that the antiques businesses currently in the building will be moved to another location in or near the docks. (Citizen 4 Oct 2007)

Tower Crane for Outlet Centre Site
The erection of a tower crane on 3-4 October marked a new phase in the construction of the designer outlet centre on the Bakers Quay section of the Gloucester Quays development.

Tramroad Stones Relaid
Five pairs of stone blocks recovered from a siding of the early 19th century Gloucester & Cheltenham tramroad have been relaid on the line of the tramroad in front of the Albion Cottages. (Photo) After the surrounding paving has been laid, cast-iron rails will be fixed to the blocks and two replica wagons will be put on the rails.

Surplus Craft in Auction Sale
British Waterways offered another batch of surplus craft for disposal via an on-line auction ending on 28 September. Local items included the Freight Mover tug (sold for £3700), three mud hoppers (£2500-3000 each) and the Purton suction plant (unsold).

New Tenant for Streamline Building
The former Streamline building to the north-west of Sharpness dock has been let to Bioganix Ltd on a 15 year lease. The company is involved in the composting of organic matter. (Cit 25 Sep 2007) 

Barge Arm Shop Unit Occupied
Estate agents Naylor Powell moved into one of the shop units on the ground floor of the Barge Arm East apartments on 20 September. They formerly had a unit in Merchants Quay.

Demolition at Monk Meadow
Contractors started to demolish the grain silo at Monk Meadow on 17 September, and within four days the southern half was a pile of rubble. (Photo) This follows clearance of most of the other former warehouse and oil depot buildings in the Monk Meadow section of the Gloucester Quays development.

Owner Ordered to Remove Boat
British Waterways has obtained a Court Order requiring the removal of a boat from the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal as the owner did not have a mooring permit and failed to comply with BW's ‘Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers'. The owner was also banned from using the boat on any other part of the canal system and was ordered to pay BW's costs of £1,760.

Matthew Arrives for Filming
The replica of the Matthew in which John Cabot discovered Newfoundland in 1497 passed up the canal on 18 September. (Photo) She berthed in the small dry dock at Gloucester where scenes were filmed for a TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, staring David Jason as a failed wizard.

Making the Batter Better
Contractors are replacing part of the concrete batter of the tidal basin at Sharpness which has become badly cracked.

Plans for Luxury Yacht Building at Sharpness
Ryvellis RIBS Ltd, based in the former Kemira premises beside Sharpness dock, are planning to build multi-million pound super yachts, commercial craft and patrol boats. (Citizen 14 Sep 2007)

Competition to Name New Bridge
Local residents are being asked to suggest a name for the new bridge being constructed to carry St Ann Way over the canal south of Llanthony Bridge. Entries should be sent to the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Co, 15 Ladybellegate St, Gloucester GL1 2HN, and the winner will be invited to cut the ribbon at the official opening. (Citizen 12 Sep 2007)

Dry Dock Gates Reinstalled
The gates of the large dry dock at Gloucester were reinstalled on 11 September after being replanked. During the outage, the gates were fitted with pipes that will be used to pass water or compressed air to disperse silt that accumulates around the bottom of the gates. (Photo)

City Council Considering Office Move
Gloucester City Council cabinet members have voted in principle to join the County Council in establishing new offices in the proposed Blackfriars redevelopment. A project team will consider the viability of the move from the docks warehouses, which will not take place for at least three years. (Citizen 10 Sep 2007)

Missing Man Found at Sharpness
The body of a missing Tetbury man was recovered from Sharpness Dock on 4 September following the discovery of a submerged car. (Citizen 7 Sep 2007)

Changes to Gloucester Quays Scheme Approved
On 4 September, Gloucester City Council planning committee approved the latest plans for the designer outlet shopping centre and budget hotel in the Bakers Quay section of the Gloucester Quays redevelopment scheme. The aim is to have the outlet centre open by spring 2009. (Citizen 6 Sep 2007)

Bid to Remove Lock Gates at Saul Junction
British Waterways are asking Stroud District Council for Listed Building Consent to remove the old wooden gates from the disused Stroudwater Canal lock at Saul Junction and to install a reconstituted section nearby to show how the gates functioned. BW say the proposal is motivated by concern for the safety of the general public and the desire to conserve those parts still capable of being conserved. (App Ref S.07/1818/LBC)

Historic Schooner for Sale
The Kathleen and May, the last remaining three-masted topsail schooner, a type once common in Gloucester, is for sale at Bideford with an asking price of seven million dollars. (More details) To keep her in the West Country, would it be possible for her to be shared between a number of contributing ports? See her at the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival 26-29 October.

Sainsbury's Supermarket for Gloucester Quays
Sainsbury's are set to build a huge supermarket on the west bank of the canal to the south of the new bridge being constructed for St Ann Way. The store will have an area of 84,000 sq ft, 450 parking spaces, a petrol station and a cafe overlooking the canal. It is due to be open by Christmas 2008. (Citizen 24 Aug 07)

Llanthony Bridge Carriageway Narrowed
Between 20 and 24 August, Llanthony Bridge was closed to vehicles while the carriageway was narrowed to provide a wider space for pedestrians. More pedestrians are expected to cross the bridge when term begins at the nearby Gloucestershire College.

New Planking for Dry Dock Gates
The gates of the large dry dock at Gloucester have been removed, and work is underway to replace the planking.

Plans for Nos 3 to 9 Llanthony Rd
Plans have been submitted to Gloucester City Council for the properties in Llanthony Rd between Church St and High Orchard St, providing commercial uses on the ground floor and apartments above. They show the refurbishment of St Luke's House, the former Goat Inn and the former timber yard offices and a new building filling the gap where the dock railway once ran. (App Refs 07/00945 & 00948)  

Outlet Centre Piling Starts After Graves Removed
During clearance of the site of the planned designer outlet shopping centre at High Orchard, 52 graves were found from the former St Luke's church graveyard. Once these were removed, contractors began driving the first piles for the centre on 7 August. (Photo)

Award for Marina Boaters
Owners of narrow boats moored in the Victoria Dock have won the new Street Regeneration Award in the Gloucester in Bloom Competition. With the help of a grant from Hurrans Garden Centre, the boat owners created a colourful array of plants in pots along the marina pontoons. (Citizen 3 Aug 2007)

Excavation Starts for New Marina
Contractors started excavation work for the new marina to the south of Saul Junction on 30 July. The first phase is to remove the topsoil from the site. (Photo

Survey Work on Bakers Quay
Detailed survey work has started on the premises of the former oil mill and malthouses at the southern end of Bakers Quay now owned by the Bishop family. The results will help in the preparation of a redevelopment scheme for this key area adjoining the planned designer outlet centre.

Old Weir Apron Revealed
Following the heavy rain at the end of July, high flows over the waste weir at Purton scoured a channel 30-40ft wide and 10-15ft deep down the river bank below the weir. This has exposed the massive stone blocks of the apron of the original weir which has long been buried by the accumulation of river mud. (Photo)

Anxious Watch as River Rose
Following the recent heavy rain, the level of the River Severn at Gloucester lock rose rapidly, and there was concern that it would exceed the level of the 1947 flood. On 22 July, traffic along the Quay was stopped, and police kept onlookers well back from areas that might be swamped, but the flood defences held. The level peaked late on 23 July at the same level as in 1947, and the stop gates prevented the flood water from entering the canal (picture right). Meanwhile, the Fire & Rescue Service was called in to pump water from the vital Castlemeads substation on Alney Island, and hoses were laid to Llanthony Bridge to discharge the water into the canal rather than put it back into the swollen river. The road along the Quay was reopened to traffic on 26 July. (More details)

New Plaque Commemorates Landmark Legal Case
A new plaque was unveiled by the Mayor on 21 July to commemorate a famous legal case associated with the City Flour Mills in Gloucester docks. (Photo) Hadley v Baxendale is known by lawyers all over the English-speaking world as establishing the forseeability test for consequential damages in breach of contract cases. (More details)

Heavy Rain Closed Canal
Heavy rain on 20 July led to the closure of the canal due to a number of known incidents and concern that other issues might not have been recognised. Even with all the available sluices open, high in-flows from feeder streams caused the canal level rise until it overflowed the banks at Parkend and the Junction, and it lapped over the low quay at the Barge Arm. The pontoons in the Victoria Dock marina rose so much that the electricity supply to the moorings was cut off. The outfall from the Sudbrook culvert under Bakers Quay again caused a potentially dangerous cross flow in the canal, a bank slip on the off side below Sellars Bridge brought a small tree into the canal, a nearby slip on the towpath side made the towpath hazardous (photo) and pollution booms were needed near Parkend Bridge and Sims Bridge. The canal reopened on 26 July.

Art Exhibitions at Gloucester Docks
Exhibitions featuring the work of local artists opened in Merchants Quay and the Antique Centre on 14 July and will run until 11 August. Those contributing include the Sabre Art Gallery of Quedgeley and the Artdepot of Tewkesbury.

Dragon Boat Traverses Canal
A team from the Bristol Empire Dragons paddled their boat the full length of the canal on 13 July in the course of a three-day marathon trip from Stourport to Bristol. Team members were being sponsored to raise money for cancer research and other charities. (Photo)

Demolition Continues at High Orchard
Clearing of the site for the designer outlet shopping centre at High Orchard has continued during July with particular concentration on the former Fielding & Platt premises on either side of Baker St. More detailed plans for the shopping centre and new plans for an adjoining budget hotel have been submitted for approval (App Refs 07/00708/REM & 07/00710/FUL).

Sharpness Lock Gates Re-installed
The upper lock gates at Sharpness were put back into position on 11 & 12 July, following an overhaul in the dry dock. Each gate was manoeuvred into the lock entrance by the hopper barge Teme (Photo), ballast tanks were flooded to bring the gate upright and divers helped to guide each gate into its proper location.

Award for Tommi Nielsen
T Nielsen & Co have shared in the annual Sustainability Award from the West Midlands branch of the Institution of Civil Engineers for building two ARUP-designed replacement swing bridges in green oak for Diglis Basin. The judges were impressed by the attention to detail and craftsmanship of the timber elements, the use of environmentally friendly FSC timber and the re-use of original features.

Work Starts on Marina at Whitminster
A start has been made on preparing the site for a new marina in the field to the south of Saul Junction. A compound has been formed to take the cabins and heavy plant that will be used during the construction phase.

Flood Water Stops Saul Canal Festival
After heavy rain during the night of 24-25 June, the River Frome burst its banks at Saul, and fields due to be used as the festival car park and camp site in four days time were flooded to a depth of four feet in places. (Photos) With uncertainly as to how quickly the water would recede and concern about what would then be the condition of the ground, an emergency meeting of the Festival Committee reluctantly agreed that the festival would have to be cancelled.

Flood Water Disrupts Canal Traffic
After heavy rain during the night of 24-25 June, a high flow in the Sudbrook culvert under Bakers Quay caused such a strong cross-current in the canal that boats were forced across to the opposite side. As this cross-current was just where boats needed to be lining up to pass the dolphins being constructed for the new bridge, boat owners were advised not to pass until the flow from the culvert declined.

Boat Stuck in Weir Channel
On 24 June, a narrow boat that was coming down the river towards Gloucester Lock was carried by a strong current into the entrance to the weir channel. It came to rest on the west bank of the channel, constrained by the bank vegetation, and the people on board were rescued by the Fire Service. The boat was recovered on the following day.

Gloucestershire College Building Completed
The new campus for Gloucestershire College (formerly GLOSCAT) at Llanthony was formally handed over to the college authorities at a ceremony on 22 June. The £35 million project, carried out by Bovis Lendlease, was delivered three weeks early and under budget. (Citizen 23 Jun 2007)

Plans for Lock Warehouse
The new owner of the warehouse beside the lock at Gloucester has submitted plans for converting the building to provide 26 residential units on the upper floors and retail or restaurant use on the ground floor. It is proposed that the antique dealers currently occupying the warehouse will be offered other accommodation within the docks. (App Refs 07/00771/FUL, 07/00772/LBC)

Tug Primrose For Sale
The former canal tug Primrose, built by Robert Cock & Sons at Appledore in 1906, is for sale at Hull. For further information, contact National Historic Ships via

New Chaplain for Mariners Chapel
The Revd Douglas Drane was formally inducted as Chaplain of the Mariners Chapel on 13 June. The service was conducted by the Revd Canon Michael Walters, Chairman of the Church Society Trust who are patrons of the chapel.

Boats Damaged
A canal boat at Shepherds Patch and another at Saul were broken into between 24 May and 2 June, and wine and beer were stolen. (Citizen 5 Jun 2007)

New Market Site Approved
Gloucester City Council have given themselves planning permission to establish an open-air market site between the canal and the new South West Bypass at Netheridge. The scheme also incorporates a basic campsite for Gloucester Rowing Club events. (Citizen 31 May 2007)

New Bridge Power Failure
The power supply to the new Netheridge Bridge failed on 31 May at a time when the road barriers were lowered but before the bridge had started to open (for MFV Lucia to pass through). Engineers soon raised the barriers to allow road traffic to move normally, and by the following afternoon they had restored the power and opened the bridge.

Lock Gates in Dry Dock
Following the failure of an anchor, the top gates of the lock at Sharpness have been taken out for examination in the dry dock. Meanwhile, all vessel movements involve leveling the tidal basin, which is very time consuming. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Bypass Bridge Opened to Road Traffic
The last section of Gloucester's South West Bypass, including the new Netheridge swing bridge, was officially opened to road traffic on 25 May by the Chairman of Gloucestershire County Council, Mavis Lady Dunrossil. Following the ceremony, three vintage cars and an open-top bus carried official guests across the bridge in each direction before the road was opened for public use. (Photo)

Schooner's Owner Found
British Waterways officials have made contact with the owner of the Johanna Lucretia, which has been lying abandoned in the Main Basin at Gloucester for over a year. They are trying to arrange a meeting with a view to recovering outstanding licence and mooring fees. (Citizen 23 May 2007)

Demolition at High Orchard
Work has started clearing unwanted buildings from the site for the designer outlet shopping centre in the High Orchard area behind Bakers Quay. Hoardings were erected along Merchants Rd, High Orchard St and Church Rd in mid-May, and demolition was underway by the end of May.

Barge Arm Bridge Removed
The pontoon bridge which has been across the Barge Arm for the last two years was removed on 4 May as sufficient paving has been laid to reopen pedestrian access around the end of the Arm. The removal of the bridge will allow the National Waterways Museum to reopen access to the historic craft moored in the Arm.

Cow Rescued from the Canal
A cow was reported to be in distress in the canal one mile south of Patch Bridge, Slimbridge, during the evening of 1 May. Fire crews, appliances and boats from Dursley, Stroud, Gloucester and Tewkesbury attended, and the cow was rescued after around two hours. (Citizen 3 May 2007)

New Scheme for Bakers Quay
The Bishop family, who own the southern end of Bakers Quay adjoining Peel Developments' planned factory outlet centre, have turned down purchase offers and are preparing their own development scheme for their property, which includes the former Downing's Malthouses and Foster Bros Oil & Cake Mill. The proposal being prepared by architects Broadway Malyan includes shops and restaurants for the lower floors of these listed buildings with office space above, a re-creation of the former High Orchard Dock beside a public waterside square and new residential development behind. (Citizen 2 May 2007) (Illustration)

Hotel Boats Move Base
Hotel boats Oliver Cromwell and Edward Elgar have left their base on Bakers Quay because of the planned redevelopment of the area. From 1 May their new mooring is on Alexandra Quay opposite the National Waterways Museum.

Contractor Chosen for Gloucester Quays Scheme
Bovis Lend Lease have been selected as the management contractor for the £200 million Gloucester Quays regeneration project being promoted by Peel Developments and British Waterways, and they are establishing a site office fronting on St Ann Way. The same firm has recently completed the new GLOSCAT building at Llanthony. (Citizen 1 May 2007)

Appeal to Find Schooner's Owner
British Waterways have appealed for information about the owner of the schooner Johanna Lucretia that has been lying abandoned in the Main Basin at Gloucester since 2003. The vessel is due to be sold to recover unpaid mooring fees, and the owner will receive the balance of the sale price if he can be found within twelve months.

Gloucester Quays Planning Application
The developers of the Gloucester Quays scheme submitted revised plans in April taking account of changed commercial requirements and comments received during consultations. The modifications include strengthening the St Ann Way frontage, relocation of the public transport drop-off point, changes in building heights and redistribution of floorspace. (App Ref 07/00444/FUL)

Indian Restaurant Opens
A new Indian restaurant, known as Vinings Dining Freedom, opened in the ground floor of Vinings Warehouse on 29 April. It will be open every day for drinks and pastries from 10.30am to 5pm, for lunch at midday and for dinner from 6pm to 11.30pm.

Smile Shop Opens
A new Smile convenience store opened in the east end of the Barge Arm apartment block on 27 April. It will be open from 7am to 9pm seven days a week for the sale of newspapers, magazines, confectionery, groceries, drinks and fresh sandwiches. (Photo)

New Cables for Llanthony Bridge
New electrical and communication cables for the operation of Llanthony Bridge were connected up on 23 April. The cables pass under the canal through a Severn Trent tunnel that carries a sewage pipe.

Steam at Sharpness
A steam hauled train from Gloucester travelled to the present end of the Sharpness branch line on 22 April for the first time in over forty years. A Black 5 Class 4-6-0 locomotive pulling carriages filled with steam enthusiasts stopped just short of the dock estate, decoupled and ran round to the other end of the train for the return journey. (Photo)

Lock Keeper Given Key to Pub
Gloucester lock keeper Johnathan Chater has moved into the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Llanthony Rd where his wife Katharine has taken over as landlady. The pub is open for breakfast as well as serving lunch and evening meals.

Parliament Comes to Gloucester
The Select Committee looking into how the Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs administers funding for British Waterways held one of its meetings at the National Waterways Museum on 16 April. This unusual excursion from Westminster was arranged by Committee chairman and local MP David Drew so that the MPs could see the work of British Waterways at first hand and could hear the concerns of local people about recent budget cuts.

Antiques Centre Considering a Move
The management of the Gloucester Antiques Centre, currently based in the warehouse beside the lock, are considering moving the business into the building that is expected to replace Merchants Quay in around two years time. (Citizen 2 Apr 2007)

Sharpness Lock Gates Out of Action
The inner gates of the lock at Sharpness are to be taken out and drydocked following failure of the second anchor of the north gate. Meanwhile, all vessel movements involve leveling the tidal basin, which is very time consuming.

BW Board Visit Gloucester
One of the bi-monthly meetings of the British Waterways Board was held at the Hatton Court Hotel on 28 March. On the previous day, Board members visited the site of the Gloucester Quays redevelopment and called in at the National Waterways Museum and the Archives in Llanthony Warehouse.

Grain Barges Go for Survey
Motor-barge Tirley passed down the canal for the last time on 24 March, and Chaceley followed on 25 March. These barges, which formerly carried wheat to Healings Mill at Tewkesbury, are to be surveyed in the dry dock at Sharpness with a view to sale. (Photo and more from the skipper's album)

Marina Approved at Whitminster
Stroud District Council approved plans for a marina on land adjoining Walk Farm, Whitminster, on 13 March. The plans show 284 berths, an entrance from the arm of the Stroudwater Canal, a slipway, a chandlery and accommodation for staff. Land & Water Estates expect to start work this summer and to finish in less than a year. (Ref S.06/2720)

Pile Driving for New Bridge
Contractors began driving piles into the canal bank in early March to prepare the foundations for the western abutment of the St Ann Way Bridge that will carry the last phase of Gloucester's Inner Relief Road over the canal. (Photo) Towards the end of the month, piles were also driven along the east bank of the canal and the western approach embankment was under construction.

Resolute Restoration
The former canal tug Resolute is being restored to working order in the dock at Bullo Pill by her owner John Rhodes of Painswick. A coat of paint has done wonders for her appearance, and John is now overhauling the engine components. (Photo: J Rhodes)

Ropework for Fantasy Film
Rope-man Ben Selfe, who works on his narrow boat at Saul Junction, has recently made all the ropework for Ma Costa’s Dutch barge in the film The Golden Compass, which is based on Philip Pullman’s novel Northern Lights. Ben also skippered the barge during the filming.

Car Park Charges
At the end of February, British Waterways introduced charges for their car parks at Saul Junction, Fretherne Bridge and Purton, starting at £1 for four hours. Within a few days, however, the cash machine at Saul Junction was out of order and the one at Fretherne Bridge had been seriously vandalised.

New Bridge Work Underway
Heavy plant has started clearing the site for the construction of the new bridge across the canal to carry St Ann Way - the last link in Gloucester's Inner Relief Road. The contractor has fenced off the towpath at the construction site, the alternative route being via Llanthony Rd and Hempsted Lane.

New Bell Rope Fitted
A new rope was fitted to the Atlas Bell on the corner of the North Warehouse on 22 February to replace the original rope which had disintegrated. (Photo) The bell is ready again to be rung by visitors on the Civic Trust docks tours.

New Phase of Public Realm Work
Work started on 19 February on paving the road in front of the Barge Arm East apartments.

Canal Nominally Closed for Two Days a Week
The new policy of not staffing the canal bridges for the passage of pleasure craft on Tuesdays and Wednesdays began on 6 & 7 February as a means of reducing operating expenditure during winter months. However, having promised to accommodate commercial craft movements if needed, British Waterways had to provide a mobile bridge-opener on Tuesday 20 February, who travelled from bridge to bridge by car, to allow the gravel barge Chub to pass down the canal to the dry dock at Saul Junction and her sister barge Perch to travel up to Gloucester. The new policy will continue until Easter, and then the canal will be fully open, but some bridges will be user-operated.

New Units Being Fitted Out
Work has started on fitting out the modern extension to Vinings Warehouse as an Indian restaurant, and a unit on the ground floor of the Barge Arm apartments is being prepared as a convenience store. It is hoped that both will open in April.

Wind Turbine for Warehouse Roof
Gloucester City Council has published plans for erecting a wind turbine on the roof of the link between Herbert and Kimberley Warehouses. The proposed rotor is 1.75 metres in diameter, mounted on a 3.5 metre pole. (App Ref 07/0085)

Organic Composting Facility for Sharpness
Plans for an in-vessel composting facility in the former Plasmega building to the north west of Sharpness dock were approved by the County Council planning committee on 31 January. The facility, to be run by Biorganix plc, will process garden, kitchen and food industry waste within the existing building.

More Shops Close
Two more gift shops in Merchants Quay closed at the end of January and a third is set to go in March, leaving a sandwich bar, an estate agent and a visitor information office. The building is due to be replaced, but no plans have yet been published.

Opera Scene Filmed in Restaurant Shell
The modern extension to Vinings Warehouse that is due to became a restaurant has been used for filming a scene for the opera The Full Monteverdi, an hour-long exploration of Monteverdi’s fourth book of madrigals written in 1603.

New Bridge Contract
The contract for the St Ann Way bridge beside the Peel Centre at Gloucester has been awarded to Alun Griffiths Contractors Ltd of Abergavenny, and site preparation work has started. During construction work, a section of the canal towpath will be blocked-off, and an alternative pedestrian route will be signposted.

Canal Tug For Sale
The former tug Addie is for sale at Goole with an asking price of £99,950. Built in 1915 by the original firm of Abdela & Mitchell at Brimscombe, she worked on the Sharpness Canal during the 1940s and 1950s and was later converted for living aboard.

Biddle & Shipton Completed
The conversion of Biddle and Shipton Warehouses to luxury apartments has been completed, and the first residents have moved in.

Boat Building Proposal Withdrawn
Abdela & Mitchell Ltd of Brimscombe have withdrawn their planning application to fit out canal boats in redundant barns at Barracks Farm, Moreton Valence.

Tenants to Quit Monk Meadow
British Waterways have given their tenants at Monk Meadow notice to quit as a first step in the redevelopment of the area as part of the Gloucester Quays scheme. This will be followed by demolition of buildings, site clearance and removal of contamination.

Kaskelot Arrives for Overhaul
The tall ship Kaskelot passed up the canal on 8 Jan and entered the large dry dock at Gloucester for an overhaul which will include replacement of the stern section of her keel. (Photo)

Refurbishment of Pillar & Lucy House
Plans have been submitted to Gloucester City Council for the internal refurbishment of Pillar & Lucy House on Bakers Quay. The proposal involves the complete removal of existing internal walls and fittings and the fitting out of the third floor as office accommodation for the Peel project team who will supervise the Gloucester Quays redevelopment scheme. The other floors will not be fitted out until the proposed factory outlet centre is developed. (App Ref 06/01522/LBC)

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