St Helens (Sankey) Canal
Established in 1985, the Sankey Canal Restoration Society has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of what is the first canal of the industrial age. Through the years, its volunteers, with the cooperation of local councils and other organisations, have helped to bring about many changes to the infrastructure of the canal and its surrounding areas. There is now a new towpath/cycleway along the entire length of the canal and the milestone project was completed at the beginning of 2021. Unfortunately, the new swing-bridge for Spike Island has been put on hold due to funding difficulties.
St Helen’s Council’s New Town Deal plans to make the Sankey Canal the centrepiece of its Town Centre Regeneration Scheme, and Warrington Council is working tirelessly to reconnect the canal to its original water supply. Like many other organisations, SCARS is at present unable to plan any events or work parties and the committee is keeping in contact via Zoom. Society members are kept up to date through its quarterly magazine Canal Cutting, Facebook page and website.
HS2 is the latest cause for concern with the announcement that the almost-disused line that crosses the canal on the level at Sankey Bridges, and parallels the canal from Warrington to Widnes, will be upgraded and electrified as part of a proposed route into Liverpool. This means SCARS has some serious campaigning to do to get sufficient headroom to have any chance of future restoration of the full length of the canal.