The following text is taken from the Executive Summary of the Strategy & Action Plan.
This Strategy and Action Plan demonstrates how canal re-establishment can seize on planned investment activity and improved connectivity to become the essential piece of infrastructure that maximises the value of the A500 Link Road and planned commercial investment at Etruria Valley.
The Strategy is also mindful of the constrained funding environment and demonstrates how the project can contribute to wider stakeholder objectives.
Several major factors are helping to reposition the area and enhance the prospect of re-opening the Burslem Branch Canal. These include a major commercial investment programme, improved accessibility and transport links, the work of the Burslem Regeneration Trust which promotes partnership and collaboration amongst stakeholders, the ongoing success of Middleport Pottery as a nationally known tourism destination and finally the influence of “Middleport Matters” community-led initiative.
The A500 Link Road, scheduled to be completed by December 2019 will improve connectivity from the A500 to the city centre through Festival Way in the west and crucially improve access to the north to Middleport and Burslem through Newport Lane. The link road will also provide the connecting infrastructure to kick start the northern section of the Etruria Valley. The site provides some 30 Ha of employment land, mainly for logistics and warehouse development which will accommodate between 1,200 – 1,500 jobs.
Contribution to Stakeholder Objectives
The Strategy demonstrates how the re-established Burslem Branch Canal can help achieve stakeholder organisation’s strategic objectives including: economic and social development, environmental enhancement and physical and increased waterway and towpath activity.
The Strategy adopts the following interlinked themes:
Connecting Infrastructure: addressing barriers & constraints: infrastructure to integrate economic potential (A500, Etruria Valley, Middleport, Burslem), build economic activity and connect communities;
A Green Infrastructure & Heritage Asset: using the canal environs to promote sustainable connections between communities, places of interests and cycle, pedestrian and transport networks
Developing key markets & sites: using the enhanced profile from A500 improvements, Middleport Pottery and other initiatives to build activity and value in visitor, boating, commercial and residential markets
Developing capacity: developing an effective structure to marshal resources and deliver canal and community regeneration.
Linking City & Regional Assets: Promote the Burslem Branch as vital economic & linking infrastructure.
Action Plan & Delivery
A series of practical actions have been established in an Action Plan with indicative timings ranging from early wins to long term aspirations. Stakeholder organisations have been allocated to each action. Actions relating to early wins involve investigating the ownership and functionality of the drainage ditch to the east of the canal. This will determine the likely design, cost and area of land available for development.
Other early wins relate to establishing a walkway between the canal area, Burslem town centre and the Trent and Mersey Canal to increase local use and improve the attractiveness of neighbouring sites. Visitor interpretation will also increase awareness of the canals historic value and proposed future role.
The recently secured Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) could also be used to amass developer contributions to develop the ‘mouth’ of the Burslem Branch canal to promote interest and activity at its most visible point. Developer contributions relating to HIF could also be used to establish more effective connections north and west between proposed housing sites, the proposed canal route and Burslem town centre.
The infographic below indicates the high level economic impacts, benefits and value for money indicators associated with delivery.