The Ashby Canal Association is negotiating with Leicestershire County Council to transfer the canal restoration project to the association. Work is now concentrated on sorting out the legal details, and negotiations with Natural England and EA regarding the Gilwiskaw Brook Aqueduct are at an advanced stage. There is a current Buy a Brick campaign to raise money for the aqueduct, and these are on display at Snarestone Wharf, awaiting the go-ahead for the aqueduct.
Excavation of a 200m to 300m length of canal bed are planned for spring 2021, including removal of the pit waste tipped into the canal after closure in 1967. This material, if suitable, will be used to build up part of the canal line previously affected by mining subsidence.
There is planning permission for a housing estate in Measham, which will include restoration of 1.1km of Ashby Canal as an integral part of the scheme. The development is, however, still under threat due to the proposed route of HS2b, which crosses the site. If the railway route goes ahead as planned, it will bisect the site, rendering it uneconomic, thus losing some £3m-worth of canal and having a negative effect on the economic impact of the waterway to the village of Measham, as well as potentially putting the completion of the restoration project back many years. A full engineering study has been carried out which recommends 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 developer 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 are still awaited.
Covid-19 has slowed down most practical work, but the trust hopes it will all improve in 2021.