The Lancashire Evening Post, Friday, 17th June 2005
£800m river vision is future of Ribble
Revamp: Project will be celebration of city's past and future By Richard Newton
THE mastermind behind plans to rebuild an historic canal has given the thumbs-up to an 800m vision to revamp the River Ribble.

Colin Barnes, of Victoria Road, Fulwood, says Preston and South Ribble councils' Riversway project will celebrate Preston's industrial past and improve the city for future generations.

As part of the project, retired architect Mr Barnes, who is chairman of Preston City Link Canal Trust, has put together plans to rebuild the Lancaster Canal along its original route.

[Picture:The Lancaster Canal at Maudland Bank in Preston, where an extension to the canal could end after going over a new aqueduct.]

Lancaster Canal at Maudland Bank
His idea is to extend the canal from its current terminus in Shelley Road, Ashton, over Aqueduct Street on a new aqueduct, across Fylde Road and ending at a marina at the now derelict Maudland Bank, next to the university. The original canal went even further, ending beyond the current Ring Way at Corporation Street.

Mr Barnes' proposals accompany another proposal from a team at British Waterways to connect the Shelley Road terminus to the docks on a new route crossing Tom Benson Way, Tulketh Road and Watery Lane on its way to Oyston Mill and across Port Way and Mariners Way.

It would provide an alternative route to the docks without going along the £6m Ribble Link, which was completed in 2002 linking the Lancaster Canal to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal via the Ribble and Douglas rivers and fulfilling a 200-year dream. [See The Old Tram Road and The Ribble Link for more information.]

Mr Barnes said: "I built a model that includes a heritage centre, a bistro, wine bar, restaurant and a new railway station reviving part of the Preston to Longridge line and linking the city's current train station to the university.

"This could be extended across a pier further along the underground line to Deepdale, linking the football ground to perhaps ending at Gamull Lane."

The two options are part of a wider 20 year vision called the Riversway project that hopes to build a barrage and new river crossing, promenade, shops, offices and up to 4,000 homes on the south bank of the Ribble.

Martin Clarke, restoration manager for British Waterways, said: "It is not very often we get the chance to look at everything in the water space and its assets so this was rather special.

"This route would feed into a new basin around which new businesses could be built."

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, June 2005