Pennine Waterways News

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Gating proposal for Rochdale Canal

A proposal is being made to close off night-time pedestrian access to the towpath through Piccadilly Undercroft past Lock 85 of the Rochdale Canal in Manchester.

Manchester City Council and the Canal and River Trust are jointly putting forward a plan to erect three gates across the towpath that would be locked at a certain time each evening. This is in an effort to stop problems that have been happening in the area for many years, including indecent activities taking place and inebriated persons falling into the canal.

Boaters pass through the lock without problem but sometimes feel uncomfortable about people hanging around. Most of the problems occur at night at a time when boats are not passing through.

It would appear that it will still be possible for boats to use the lock when the towpath gates are locked as long as crew members are on board the boat to pass the gates, although boaters are encouraged to complete the Rochdale Nine by the end of the afternoon, before the Canal Street area fills with pub and club goers.

One of the proposed gates would go here, below Lock 84.

The Canal and River Trust's David Baldacchino said: "We want to make a difference to what happens in this area. We see this as a key issue to helping develop boating on the South Pennine Ring. Over the years we have tried increasing numbers of people working there, different operating approaches and providing public rescue equipment, none of which has made a significant difference. We cannot be there 24 hours a day, nor can the police or other agencies.

"The next step is a suggestion to close off the towpath at the Undercroft overnight. With that in mind Manchester City Council are inviting comments for such a proposal. [link]

"You may feel that the prospect of closing a section of towpath overnight is very controversial, on the other hand you may think this is an obvious solution to a significant problem and again that the current situation is a huge impediment to developing he canals in Manchester. Whatever your views, your comments are welcomed.

"This is a feasibility study at present, so there is no closing date but the more people that comment the better."

Mr Baldacchino invited people to contact him if they want to talk about the proposal. He also asked anyone who comments to Manchester City Council on the proposal to send a copy to CRT.

A gate is proposed across this entrance to the towpath.

Another gate is proposed across the towpath between the above entrance and the tunnel.

This is the proposed design of the gates.

(Photos and drawing from Canal and River Trust.)