Local MP Stephen O'Brien visited Audlem yesterday and met with senior managers with British Waterways, Julie Sharman, Head of Regeneration North, and Wendy Capelle, Waterway Manager – both are based at BW's regional office in Northwich.
Julie and Wendy described the major changes underway at British Waterways as it moves to become a charity and the way BW works closely with local communities such as Audlem.
The MP revealed at the meeting that when his great great great grandfather first arrived in England from Ireland, he had worked as a navvie working on the canals before going on to establish his own engineering company.
Dek Owen, a volunteer with BW, who helps people on the canal visiting Audlem, also described his new role and the reasons he volunteered – there'll be a separate story shortly on Audlem Online featuring Dek and his fellow volunteers.
Stephen O'Brien heard about a number of local projects including plans to hardcore a stretch of towpath northwards to Bridge 80 to help access to and from the new Overwater Marina; improving the footpath down from the football pitch to the Shroppie Fly car park and the installation of touch screen computers at Audlem Mill shop and at the marina promoting local tourism and the life and works of Thomas Telford.
He was also briefed on plans for a boat providing trips from Audlem to Overwater and on to the Secret Bunker and occasionally to Nantwich, a service which is scheduled to start in the Spring – as reported on Audlem Online on 30th October.
British Waterways and Audlem Parish Plan are making a joint presentation for funding to the Northern Marches LEADER finance committee on Monday. If successful, this will provide the bulk of the funding for the towpath and computers with 'matched funds' being provided by local businesses and a number of local government schemes.
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