New £45,000 canal gates

Riverhead Lock Gates

Riverhead Lock Gates

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Two sets of lock gates on the Canal at Riverhead, Driffield, are to be replaced at a cost of £45,000.

Driffield town council has agreed to donate £10,000 of public money towards the cost of the project to replace the upper and lower gates.

The Driffield Navigation Amenities Association has also promised £10,000.

Driffield town council was told that the total cost of replacing the gates would be £45,000 plus VAT.

The new gates would be expected to last 30 to 40 years.

The town council agreed to donate money to the Driffield Navigation Trust from its canal projects reserve - on condition that all other funding for the project must be in place before the town council money was transferred.

The DNT is the process of compiling a five year development plan with support from the Driffield Canal Partnership.

DNT members see a fully restored canal as a tangible way to encourage new community activities while contributing to rural regeneration and preserving the county’s heritage.

A fully restored canal would kick start 11 miles of rural regeneration, it has been claimed.

Izzy Kitt, DNT commissioner, told the council: “To date, over the last 12 months, the DNT, with help from the Driffield Canal Partnership, has cleared weed in the canal. The Trust has also repaired the bye-wash at Brigham and commissioned the clearing of trees interfering with the canal wall at Riverhead.

“With all this work being undertaken on behalf of the DNT, I am asking the Driffield town council for money to put towards one pair of head and tail mitre gates, balance beams, co-plastic paddles and walkway-to-head gates for Driffield town lock.”

She explained: “The next job will be to remove the fixed bridge at Whinhill, which spans the canal to the fish farm, replacing it with a swing bridge.

“Spot dredging also needs to be undertaken to increase water flow to allow navigation and to oxygenate the water to reduce growth.”

Working closely with the canal partnership, the commissioners want to encourage wider community involvement and are preparing to clear scrub from the original towpath from Whinhill to Wansford to create a path trail.

The work is being carried out in conjunction with the Inland Waterways Association recovery group, who will be running a summer camp in August.

The proposed path trail will include seating, hides and educational aspects so that walkers and cyclists will be able to learn about the natural habitat and wildlife along the canal bank.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is providing a land survey of the proposed path trail so that wildlife will be protected when the work is carried out.

The River and Chalk Stream Trust has also given its support, as has the Wansford and Skerne Parish Council.

The Beverley Ramblers Association is also said to be keen on the path trail as its members hope to see a path linking Driffield with Hull.

The canal partnership has gained support from both the Driffield Lions Club and the Rotary Club and has held events to help fund the work.

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