New waterway to come on stream

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THE development of a new waterway linking the Grand Union Canal and the River Great Ouse in Bedford has been given the green light.

Last week, Milton Keynes Council agreed its Corporate Plan, which included the delivery of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway (B&MK) – a scheme of which the council is a founding member.

B&MK is a group of local authorities, agencies and community groups which is driving forward the project to create 26km of waterway between the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes and the River Great Ouse at Bedford.

Graham Mabbutt, chairman of the B&MK Waterway Trust, which for more than a decade has been campaigning for the waterway project, hailed the Corporate Plan as a key milestone and is keen to see work get under way soon.

“This represents a great start to a significant year,” he said. “The Plan’s support for the project complements its other priorities such as encouraging local communities, the voluntary and community sector to become involved in managing community assets, together with opportunities to take part in sport, leisure, cultural activity and volunteering – these are all guiding principles for the Trust.

“The Consortium, which the Trust helped to create, is to be congratulated on its progress. Last year we saw the Waterspace Study jointly published by two other consortium members – Bedford Borough Council and the Environment Agency – which put the waterway at the heart of its strategy.

“Then later this year we hope to see the creation of a section of waterway through the Marston Vale Innovation Park. The waterway is no pipe dream, it is happening.”

For more information visit www.b-mkwwaterway.co.uk