The newest part of the Wilts & Berks Canal at Wichelstowe, Swindon has beaten stiff, nationwide competition to win two prizes in the 2011 Waterways Renaissance Awards organised by the Waterways Trust. Wichelstowe was runner-up in the Strategy and Masterplanning category and received a “commended” in the Partnership category.
Cllr Andrew Bennett (Swindon BC) said "Swindon is justifiably proud that not only is the town a thriving commercial centre for the South West, but also that three-quarters of the borough is rural and a much treasured environment. The new canal is an integral part of Wichelstowe and gives an opportunity to introduce the joys of the ‘cut’ to many new homeowners, literally right on their doorstep – and a future boon to another generation of canal users!”
John Laverick, Chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, said " The Trust is very pleased that this newest section of the waterway has been considered for these awards and against stiff competition the judges recognised that the cohesiveness of the Canal Partnership has delivered this magnificent facility for the newly forming local community at Wichelstowe and one more piece in the jigsaw leading towards the full restoration of the entire waterway."
Wiltshire councillor Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Partnership is delighted the project is gaining further national recognition. She said: "Restoring over 60 miles of waterway can only be done with the strength and support of the 22 partners, from the voluntary, public and private sectors, who have come together with the single purpose to provide a recreational and wildlife corridor for future generations.”
Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, said: "This is the ninth year of the Waterway Renaissance Awards and it is truly inspiring to see that, even in these very challenging economic times, people and organisations are continuing to work together to realise the benefits of our canals and rivers for communities across the UK. All projects reaching the celebrated tonight should be justifiably proud of all that they have achieved."
Pictured, left to right: Andrew Bennet (Swindon Councilor), Allan Rogers (BAM Nuttal), Ken Oliver, Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, John Laverick, Malcolm Corlett (BAM Nuttal), Helen Carey (Chair of Judges, Waterways Trust).