February 2016 – The Holmer Trading Estate Scheme: Developers to Restore Canal
A number of times over recent years we have reported the granting on planning permission in 2010 for the redevelopment of the Holmer Trading Estate in Hereford, including the restoration of one of the most difficult sections of the H&G Canal as an integral part of the proposals. Due to market conditions and economic considerations the previous developer did not implement the various approvals.
The H&G Canal runs along the edge of the Holmer Trading Estate in a cutting on the approach to Aylestone Tunnel. The ¼ mile long Tunnel was found to be in remarkably good condition during a specialist full diving survey in 1995. However, the ¼ mile length of deep approach cutting is fully infilled with tipped industrial waste which requires specialist disposal. It will be one of the most expensive short sections of the H&G Canal to restore.
New site owners Codex have been working closely with the H&G Canal Trust to bring forward further revised proposals for the redevelopment of this old trading estate. As with all the previous proposals as an integral part of the development, the Canal will be excavated and fully restored from Aylestone Tunnel right up to our first phase restoration at Aylestone Park. On completion the newly restored length of the Canal, and ¼ mile tunnel, will be transferred to H&G CT.
There will also be perpetual (index linked) payments to H&G CT by all of the new properties for the restoration and long-term maintenance and management of the H&G Canal. The adjoining section in Aylestone Park will subsequently be widened by H&G CT to modern day requirements (the new slipway and major storm overflow constructed as part of our first phase works having been positioned to accommodate this). Together, these lengths will form a fantastic section of restored H&G Canal within the City.
So why are we far more confident that this developer will proceed?
Because in January the Planning Committee of Herefordshire Council took the exceptional step of approving the development with all the properties being for sale on an ‘open market’ basis and with the H&G Canal being the major benefactor from the considerable ‘planning gain’ on this development. The determination to see the H&G Canal restored through this site shown by both Officers and Members was exceptional (in all senses of the word) and has given the developer an approval with the greatest potential for an economically viable scheme.
The clear vision of the Council to see the Canal restored is greatly welcomed and shows fantastic support for the huge voluntary effort along the Canal to date. We also welcome being able to work with developers from the outset of schemes and these proposals will make a huge improvement to the area.