The following is an extract from Next Navigation West, 2013 Revision, by Dr Geraint Coles.

© Chesterfield Canal Partnership.

Like the rest of Next Navigation West, it is available to download by clicking here and then clicking on Restoration Plans.



22.5    Strategy for the Management of the Restored Waterway

22.5.1    The strategy has two elements – the short term maintenance of the corridor as the canal is restored and the long term sustainable maintenance of the waterway once the through connection is achieved.

Short Term
22.5.2    Those sections owned and operated by the Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways) will be maintained by the Canal & River Trust supported by the revenues of the Kiveton Waters Marina and the relocated fished ponds.

22.5.3    Those sections owned by Derbyshire County Council on behalf of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership will be maintained for Derbyshire County Council by the volunteers of the Chesterfield Canal Trust.  Chesterfield Canal Trust volunteer working parties currently undertake significant maintenance, repair and restoration tasks along the entire route of the canal in Derbyshire.  They also lead clean up operations and contribute to vegetation clearance and rights of way maintenance.

22.5.4    Volunteers work groups on the restored canal will be fully trained and hold relevant qualifications through the Inland Waterways Initiative for Skills (IWIS) and accredited by City and Guilds.

22.2.5    Technical support for the volunteers will be provided by the Derbyshire Countryside Service based at Tapton Lock Visitor Centre, Chesterfield.  Their staff currently manages the restored canal from Chesterfield to Staveley and has developed an extensive body of experience and knowledge of canal management.

22.5.6    The Countryside Service is financially supported by Derbyshire County Council.

Long Term
22.5.7    When through navigation from Chesterfield to the River Trent is re-established, the canal will effectively have two owners and two navigation authorities:-
* Derbyshire County Council – From Chesterfield (Waterside) to Kiveton Waters (ending at the western limit of the former colliery site).
* Canal & River Trust – From Kiveton Waters (commencing at the western limit of the former colliery site) to West Stockwith.

22.5.8    It is essential that the Chesterfield Canal operates as a seamless whole.  There are several options for achieving this goal.  It is difficult, however, in view of the proposed changes in the governance and direction of the Canal & River Trust (cf. British Waterways 20:20 Vision), to be able to predict which solution will be the most suitable and appropriate at the point when the canal is fully restored.  The possible options will be kept under review as restoration progresses bearing in mind the long term nature of the restoration process, rapid changes in national funding regimes and the consequent changes in waterways management strategy.

22.5.9    At the time of writing (and without prejudice to future changes in structure and organisation of the respective bodies) it would appear unlikely that the Canal & River Trust would wish to take on full ownership of the restored canal or that the Chesterfield Canal Partnership would be in position to provide a sufficient sinking fund (“dowry”) to make this a viable option.

22.5.10    It is therefore proposed that the canal assets currently held (and due to be held) by Derbyshire County Council (i.e. all the sections from Chesterfield to east of Kiveton Waters) be vested in a not-for-profit Trust or Community Interest Company (CIC).  The board of trustees / directors to be drawn from the Executive Steering Group of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership.

22.5.11    The initial development of this Trust or CIC is already underway.  This will enable organic growth and the development of a suitable management team prior to the handover of the canal itself.

22.5.12    In the Long term the Trust or CIC will hold both the canal and associated assets (marinas, boatyards, fishing ponds, etc) which generate income and will underwrite the maintenance of the waterway. The Trust or CIC has a number of possible long term management structures which can be supported by evidence as workable:-

22.5.13    Management Agreement with Canal & River Trust A long term management agreement between Derbyshire County Council, the Trust / CIC and the Canal & River Trust, with a view to ultimately transferring management of the navigation for the Derbyshire section to the Canal & River Trust.  This has the advantage of creating a seamless canal corridor and maximising use of the expertise of Canal & River Trust while minimising costs through reducing duplication.

22.5.14    Management Agreement with Derbyshire Countryside Service A long term agreement between the Trust / CIC to secure the services of a dedicated “canal team” based on the expertise of the team at Tapton Lock.  This has the advantage of continuity from the short term management arrangements coupled with local engagement and “ownership”.

22.5.15    Creation of an “in house” Maintenance Team Formation of a dedicated, directly employed, work group  to undertake all maintenance work on the canal (similar to the model employed by the Avon Navigation Trust).  This has the advantage of maximising responsiveness to the needs of the Trust / CIC.

22.5.16    A number of hybrid schemes are also possible where staff from partnership organisation would be seconded to work for the Trust / CIC but would retain their base organisation’s pay and conditions.

22.5.17    It should be noted that the proposed use of a Community Interest Company or third sector model for the long term management of the Waterway predates British Waterways own, somewhat grander proposals (!) which led to the formation of the Canal & River Trust (cf. Coles and Cook 2008, AINA Conference Paper).