IT SEEMS likely to be full steam ahead for plans to open Chichester Canal up to the sea.
Councillors continued to show support for plans to allow through navigation of the canal, as Chichester District Council’s cabinet recommended it to full council on Tuesday (September 3).
“It’s about 14 years ago that there was an assessment made about benefits that might accrue from the restoration of the canal,” said Cllr Myles Cullen.
“I fail to see what’s changed. I don’t think anything’s changed.
“There is, I believe rightly, a national aspiration regarding restoration of canals and where they’ve come to fruition they’ve bloomed into cherished assets.
“Personally, I think it would be a very attractive attribute for locals and for tourists with the restoration as far as possible for the canal.
“As nothing has changed I don’t believe our policy should change.”
Cabinet was forced to review the council’s official stance to the canal after a number of councillors opposed the through-navigation policy – particularly citing the potential construction of a swing bridge on the B2201 at Donnington as a major concern.
Nevertheless, cabinet remained largely in favour of through navigation.
The policy which is being scrutinised is policy 52 of the district council’s draft local plan.
A line stating the council would work to open the canal to through navigation was scrapped.
A further amendment was made so it now reads: “Appropriate development that assists the provision of through navigation and enhancement of the Chichester Ship Canal will be supported where it meets environmental, ecological and transport considerations.”
Officers were also asked to reconsider the wording in the draft local plan surrounding canals.
Councillors will have the opportunity to discuss the amendments at full council on September 24.
Cllr Tony Dignum said: “If you made any more radical change it could affect the local plan timetable. I believe this revised wording strikes the right balance for now.”