Delays to canal repairs spark fears over safety

Roy Wetherstone has a fond look at the Chesterfield Canal at Killamarsh which is in need of some tlc
Roy Wetherstone has a fond look at the Chesterfield Canal at Killamarsh which is in need of some tlc
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FEARS have been raised over the safety of a canal embankment on the outskirts of Sheffield – after it partially collapsed around nine months ago and has still not been repaired.

A section of the structure, including the towpath, has subsided – leaving just a couple of feet of mud and stones to contain the water of the Chesterfield Canal close to a main road.

The problem has occurred between the Angel Inn and Norwood Tunnel, near Killamarsh.

Roy Weatherstone, a retired engineer of Gleadless, who goes to the canal with wife Rose to walk their dogs, has raised the problem with Chesterfield Canal Trust, which is campaigning to restore the canal, and Derbyshire County Council.

He said: “Although the stretch is not near homes, if there was a breach the water would flow down towards Rotherham Road nearby.

“I’m also concerned for the fish there – there are all sorts in there, particularly some large carp, and if the embankment collapses completely allowing the water to flow out, they would be lost.”

His wife, Rose, said: “The collapse happened months ago and signs went up in the summer saying it would be repaired but nothing has happened despite us contacting Chesterfield Canal Trust and the county council.”

The couple’s concern is shared by members of the canal trust.

Publicity officer Rod Auton said: “The collapse was first reported in January. A breach would mean huge amounts of water and mud washing across Rotherham Road.

“I suspect that it would also be much more expensive to rebuild the bank than to repair it.

“Secondly, the towpath here, a right of way, has already been closed for nine months and is due to remain closed until the New Year.

“We understand fully the financial constraints under which Derbyshire County Council are operating. We recognise that they have done a huge amount to open up the canal for everyone over the years.

“However there can be no doubt that in this particular case they have failed to act in the way that we would have expected.”

But the council said the embankment is the responsibility of a private landowner who officers are trying to persuade to make the necessary repairs.

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “The land belongs to a private landowner, but it is a public footpath.

“We are aware of the problems and our engineers will be visiting the site this week to look at what work needs doing.”