Talks resume on waterway link project

SEAS END: Boats moored at Surfleet Seas End for the traditional Sea Sunday Service. Photo: SG150712-38MD
SEAS END: Boats moored at Surfleet Seas End for the traditional Sea Sunday Service. Photo: SG150712-38MD

Talks with landowners resume at the end of this month to open the way for a river link between Donington and Surfleet.

The Environment Agency has identified a “broad corridor” to connect the Black Sluice Navigation at Donington Bridge with the River Glen, but the actual route has yet to be chosen.

Each of the possible routes currently on the drawing board will involve major engineering works such as locks, bridges, pumping stations and moorings.

Joining the two South Holland waterways is part of the massive £200million Fens Waterway Link, which will open a navigation from Lincoln through to Ely, Cambridgeshire, as well as making it possible for boat owners to go to places like Peterborough and Northampton.

Philip McLoughlin, from the Environment Agency’s engineering and environmental consultants, Halcrow, said it could be 2021-2026 until there is money available to do the work.

He said: “We are really at a very early stage in terms of getting all of the approvals and all of the budgets in place.”

The Fens Waterways Link is designed to bring a host of benefits, including an economic boost from tourism, promotion of environmental protection and wildlife diversity and encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles by walking or cycling along waterside pathways or canoeing.

“It ticks all of the boxes in so many ways,” said Mr McLoughlin.

Halcrow met Donington and Surfleet landowners in September and those talks will continue at the end of January as the consultants try to pinpoint the best available route.

The likely cost of the local link will not be known until a route is decided.