The Upper Avon Navigation has raised its head again. As we heard at our last AGM, there is a new proposal to make the Avon navigable from Alveston Weir to a junction with the Grand Union Canal close to the Tesco supermarket on Emscote Road, Warwick; a distance by water of 13 miles (21 km) and at a cost of £35m. The scheme’s prospectors: the Avon Navigation Trust [ANT], the Canal & River Trust and the Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust argue that it will benefit the area through “increased enterprise opportunities, new jobs, improved access to leisure areas, environmental management and a significant addition to the existing visitor attractions in and around Warwick and Stratford upon Avon”. Stratford-on-Avon District Council gave outline support to the scheme on 5th June 2017.
As previously, we will vigorously oppose this scheme because of its deleterious impact on the two Historic England registered parks and gardens through which it passes: Charlecote Park (Grade II*) and Grade I Warwick Castle Park. As Edmund Fairfax-Lucy of Charlecote pointed out, the destruction to the park there would be particularly acute, since a significant widening of the river would be required. He was also concerned that the miller, one of only very few left, would lose his livelihood as a result of the scheme. It is unlikely that the appeal of Charlecote and Warwick Castle will be increased by a constant passage of pleasure cruisers.