Canal work delay is harming business, says Apperley Bridge Marina owner

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The crane which toppled into the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Apperley Bridge The crane which toppled into the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Apperley Bridge

A marina owner is taking a compensation battle to an industry watchdog following delays to renovation work on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal after a 64-tonne crane tumbled into the water two weeks ago.

Steve Wright said Apperley Bridge Marina had been landlocked since November as work is undertaken at Dobson Locks at one end and Field Locks at the other. But because of the accident and poor weather some of the maintenance is behind schedule.

“That will definitely start to impact on my business in a big way because we are coming to the start of the season,” Mr Wright said.

The businessman said he had lost takings over the winter as people had been unable to take their boats out, and therefore were not buying essentials such as diesel and coal. He has also lost passing trade, which although slower during the winter is still a source of income.

On February 9 a heavy duty crane was being used as part of Canal & River Trust preparation work to replace lock gates at Dobson Locks when the towpath gave way and it toppled into the water.

The Trust said the accident was rare and removing the crane presented an “unusual challenge.”

Waterway manager at the Trust, Iain Weston, said the channel would be drained of water over the next few days, which would help establish how the accident happened and how to remove the crane.

He added: “Specialist contractors will then remove the excess oils and diesel from the crane and the towpath will be closed whilst this happens. I can, however, assure everyone who enjoys the canal that we’re working on a plan to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

This week Mr Wright found out it was likely works would now overrun.

He said: “My biggest problem is that I’ve been trying to talk to the Canal & River Trust regarding compensation and I’ve been told that under no circumstances do they pay out compensation. I’m at a stage now where I’ve taken it as far as I can with the Trust. My next step is to refer it to the Waterways Ombudsman.

“You expect stoppages and closures, they’re part of the canal system, but I think their planning to close both the locks and bridge is poor.”

The Trust said it planned winter works a year in advance in consultation with businesses and to cause the least disruption. The Fields Lock and Dobson Lock repairs were planned together as they are only a mile apart, but the Trust said there has been a delay due to weather and the accident. The marina, which can moor 43 boats, is leased to Mr Wright by the Trust.

Ward Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said: “We would hope that the people responsible for shifting it (the crane), do it with every possible haste so the livelihood of people living here and leisure opportunities are returned as soon as possible.”

Work at Field Locks is due to finish shortly.

Comments (7)

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9:23am Thu 21 Feb 13

Joedavid says...

We were stopped using the tow path that goes past Dobson locks at Apperley Lane bridge.
When will the tow path be open again?
We were stopped using the tow path that goes past Dobson locks at Apperley Lane bridge. When will the tow path be open again? Joedavid

9:29am Thu 21 Feb 13

collos25 says...

When you consider the amount of work required to build the canal in the first place removal of a little crane and a bit of remedial work should be chicken feed.
When you consider the amount of work required to build the canal in the first place removal of a little crane and a bit of remedial work should be chicken feed. collos25

9:39am Thu 21 Feb 13

Joedavid says...

collos25 wrote:
When you consider the amount of work required to build the canal in the first place removal of a little crane and a bit of remedial work should be chicken feed.
They will have been built without such equipment and changed in the past without it so why now?
Surely side of canal not built to take such vehicles, a really silly thing to try to do.
Is the Government doing away with British Waterways anything to do with this and letting a Charity take over Have the experts been lost?
[quote][p][bold]collos25[/bold] wrote: When you consider the amount of work required to build the canal in the first place removal of a little crane and a bit of remedial work should be chicken feed.[/p][/quote]They will have been built without such equipment and changed in the past without it so why now? Surely side of canal not built to take such vehicles, a really silly thing to try to do. Is the Government doing away with British Waterways anything to do with this and letting a Charity take over Have the experts been lost? Joedavid

11:54am Thu 21 Feb 13

DCarbz says...

I cannot believe the statement from Mr Wright. During the Winter period the canal is generally closed so the only 'passing' trade he could have had would be from boaters on the stretch between Dobsons and Bramley locks. Given there are 4 boat yards/moorings on this stretch I doubt that passing trade amounted to that much other than from his own tenants.
Over running works are another matter but my recollection is that BW (as was) have until the Easter re opening to resolve the issue.
I cannot believe the statement from Mr Wright. During the Winter period the canal is generally closed so the only 'passing' trade he could have had would be from boaters on the stretch between Dobsons and Bramley locks. Given there are 4 boat yards/moorings on this stretch I doubt that passing trade amounted to that much other than from his own tenants. Over running works are another matter but my recollection is that BW (as was) have until the Easter re opening to resolve the issue. DCarbz

12:20pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Outraged English Subject says...

Thoughtless management afoot here!
Thoughtless management afoot here! Outraged English Subject

4:31pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Steve30d says...

Insurance companies write off cars which have been flooded, so I'm a little confused as to why it's not being cut up and removed in chunks. Especially if the canal is closed anyway.
Insurance companies write off cars which have been flooded, so I'm a little confused as to why it's not being cut up and removed in chunks. Especially if the canal is closed anyway. Steve30d

4:46pm Thu 21 Feb 13

RED65 says...

Let those scrap collectors have it ,i bet it would be gone in no time !!
Let those scrap collectors have it ,i bet it would be gone in no time !! RED65

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