Kickstart for canal

PRIVATE sector cash could be the key which kickstarts the project to restore the Horncastle and Tattershall Canal.

Businesses from around the area are being invited to a presentation at the Admiral Rodney Hotel in Horncastle on Tuesday November 18 at the Admiral Rodney Hotel, starting at 7.30pm.

Any interested members of the public will also be welcome.

It will be given by community development worker Nina Lightfoot of the Mid Lincs Action Partnership, transport development officer Allyson Ingamells of East Lindsey District Council and Horncastle and Tattershall Canal Heritage (HATCH) member Ben Bennett who will be showing a combination of ground and aerial photographs.

Nina Lightfoot told the News: "We need a bit of private sector money."

She explained 50 per cent of the cost of a feasibility study has already been pledged by Lincolnshire Enterprise with further grants of 5,000 from the Inland Waterways Association and 1500 from East Lindsey District Council.

If a bid for a further 1,500 Acorn Grant from Lincolnshire Development proves successful, it will leave a shortfall of 6,200.

Ben Bennett said: "We have been trying to re-open the canal for 14 years."

He said hundreds of people attended the original public meeting in Horncastle town hall hosted by chairman of Lincolnshire and North Humberside branch of the Inland Waterways Association David Carnell and Coun Fiona Martin.

Things have changed since then from an agricultural perspective particularly with the need for farm diversification in today's economic climate.

Mr Bennett continued: "We think the time is right to highlight it again. Canals are now flavour of the decade for all sorts of reasons and we need to bring it back in the public eye.

"The biggest stumbling block has been the feasibility study but we are getting there although it is very complicated."

He said the cost of the study has been reduced because the Environment Agency has agreed to share data it compiled for the flood defence scheme.

Mr Bennett continued: "We need to get people to put their hands in their pockets. What we really need are powerful friends with a big voice.

"It is a waste of a wonderful amenity."