Serious contamination was discovered, delaying the process

A Lottery funding bid to reopen a further mile and three quarters of the Wendover Arm, already approved in principle, has been withdrawn after unexpectedly serious contamination was discovered.

The £1.9m project aims to complete the rebuilding of the dry length of canal from the current terminus at Tringford to Aston Clinton, beyond which the route to Wendover remains in water. An application for £1.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund was given ‘stage 1’ (initial) approval in 2016, meaning that barring serious problems, ‘stage 2’ (final) agreement should follow once the rest of the funding was confirmed.

Unfortunately a short section at Little Tring, thought to be infilled with harmless domestic rubbish, has turned out to contain “noxious material which would need to be removed to a specially licensed area at great expense including a hefty landfill tax”. The costs will be well beyond what had been budgeted, and with the Lottery deadline of March 2018 looming, the Wendover Arm Trust and Canal & River Trust have had no choice but to withdraw the current bid.

However the two trusts say that much preparation work done so far will still be relevant and need not be repeated, and that they will “concentrate on solving these challenges so that a fresh submission for funding could be submitted in due course”.

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