The Ashby Canal Association is negotiating with Leicestershire County Council to transfer the canal restoration project to the association. A recent public consultation indicated support for the scheme, and the proposal is currently with Defra for approval.
There is planning permission for a housing estate in Measham, which will include restoration of 1,100m of Ashby Canal as an integral part of the scheme. The development is, however, under threat due to the proposed route of HS2b, which crosses the site of the development. If the railway route goes ahead as planned, it will bisect the site, rendering it uneconomic, thus losing some £3m-worth of canal and potentially putting the completion of the restoration project back many years.
A full engineering study has been carried out recommending a minor route diversion. The Ashby Canal supporters and affiliated groups have responded to the HS2b route consultation, pointing out the benefits of the proposed diversion, and the development company, Measham Land Co Ltd, is continuing to pursue this matter with HS2. Meanwhile, the results of the government-sponsored review of the future of the overall HS2 scheme is awaited.
The next major target for the Ashby Canal restoration is to build the aqueduct over the Gilwiskaw Brook to allow the canal to be restored back to Ilott Wharf. Recent developments on the Ashby Canal include the restoration of 600m of canal at the northern terminus beyond Snarestone, the rebuilding of Bridge 62 to modern standards, and the creation of a temporary 55ft winding hole just beyond. Pending further news on HS2 and the canal transfer, volunteers have carried out works on the associations HQ at Snarestone to welcome visitors to the canal terminus.