WEEKLY column by Stroud District Council leader Catherine Braun

Our canal restoration project achieved an important milestone last week, when planning permission was granted to reinstate a key stretch of the canal in Eastington.

Work on this section, known as the ‘missing mile’, will enable connection of the recently restored part of the Stroudwater Navigation to the new channel already constructed at the A38 roundabout.

The next phase of work will involve routing the canal underneath the M5 and creating a new canal basin and café.

Since Stroud District Council and Cotswold Canals Trust took the lead for the canal restoration project in 2008, over seven kilometres of canal between Stroud and Stonehouse has already been restored.

This next phase of the project will provide even more ways for people to enjoy the canal and the surrounding area, whether walking along the towpath, enjoying the wildlife or taking a boat trip.

We’re grateful for the fantastic work of the canal project volunteers as well as to our many funders, which include the National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Highways.

If you’d like to get involved in this exciting next phase of the project, do get in touch with the Cotswold Canals Trust which has many volunteer opportunities: cotswoldcanals.org/volunteer/volunteering-opportunities/

At the Strategy and Resources Committee this week, we’ll receive an update from the Canal Project Director about the delivery plan for the environment, community engagement and engineering programmes.

Also on Committee agenda is an update on our work to set up a new crowdfunding scheme for community project fundraising.

There’s great potential, as the Council’s Lucky Severn Lottery scheme already raises over £40,000 annually for local good causes. This new crowdfunding scheme will help communities to bring specific projects to life, with support provided by the council to set up and run a digital marketing campaign, to maximise the chance of project fundraising success.