A bid for a multi-million pound National Lottery grant to connect the Cotswold Canals to the national network has been put on hold – to give it a better chance of success.

The restoration of the Thames & Severn Canal and Stroudwater Navigation is divided into ‘phases’. Currently nearing completion, the six-mile Phase 1a from Stonehouse through Stroud to Brimscombe, is supported by £11m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Cotswold Canals Trust will lead the bid for a similar sum towards Phase 1b from Stonehouse to Saul, which involves costly crossings of the M5, A38 and railway – but makes the all-important link to the outside world at Saul. The plan was originally due to be submitted in 2014 but has been deferred to late 2015 on HLF’s advice to give more time for completion of Phase 1a. This would demonstrate to HLF the sustainability of the restoration and its benefits.

Image(s) provided by: