12:20PM, Friday 04 January 2019
Almost half a million pounds has been allocated by the Royal Borough for a weir to increase water levels on the town’s waterways – but negotiations are ongoing about a problematic stretch at Chapel Arches.
Building a weir will raise the depth of water along a one kilometre stretch of York Stream, from Town Moor to Green Lane, to 1.3 metres.
At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, December 13 it was announced that the capital budget of £489,000 would be released for the weir.
It will be based in Green Lane, with work scheduled to start in March and last for about 18 weeks.
Maidenhead Waterways chairman of trustees, Richard Davenport said: “Without the weir to lift the water levels and deepen the channel there can be no through navigation by boats of any size.”
So far the Royal Borough has provided more than £8million for the Maidenhead Waterways project, with an additional £2million coming from developer contribution income.
The top-up was needed because quotes to build the weir have been in excess of the budgeted amount.
Mr Davenport estimates that the total for the works is ‘just over a million’.
Cllr Derek Wilson, the borough’s waterways champion, said: “It is good news for Maidenhead to bring a navigable waterway into the town centre as it enhances the attractiveness of other facilities around the town centre and brings a focal point for new exciting projects to come forward as part of the regeneration package.”
Mr Davenport added: “The real benefit of the weir is that everywhere that’s been built and looks empty now, will look wider and deeper and the banks and the habitats can be established.”
The money does not include the cost of work to increase the depth of water at Chapel Arches, which currently stands at 0.6 metres.
In August, the Advertiser reported on a funding stand-off between Maidenhead Waterways, the borough and the Shanly Group – the developer behind the Chapel Arches project – over who would pay for the £300,000-£400,000 works.
Cllr Wilson (Con, Oldfield) said: “This is currently within negotiation talks between the Royal Borough and the Shanly Group for 50 per cent of the cost to be shared for this work to be completed.”
Mr Davenport described it as a ‘now or never’ choice and added: “A strategic decision is needed to lower the hard invert now, to prevent it becoming a permanent limitation for future phases of the waterway.”
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