On 30 January 2019 Cheshire West and Chester Council issued a press release announcing that an agreement has been reached with the Canal and Rivers Trust which will lead to the necessary repairs being carried out to enable the canal towpath to be reopened in the Northgate Cut.
The towpath has been shut for over 14 months due to safety concerns. The closure has led to increasing frustration amongst towpath users who have been inconvenienced by the failure by authorities to carry out the necessary repairs promptly.
The press release stated:
Canal & River Trust and Cheshire West and Chester Council have agreed a joint programme of works on the rock cutting alongside the Shropshire Union Canal at Northgate, Chester to enable the towpath to open as soon as possible.
Work will begin on Monday 4 February, initially to clear vegetation from the area which is being carried out by Canal & River Trust contractors and volunteers. Following a close inspection of the rock face loose rock will be then removed and made safe. The work is expected to take around two and half months.
The towpath has remained closed and repairs have been delayed because ownership of the rock face is in dispute.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “We appreciate how frustrating the closure has been for local residents and visitors but there is a risk of falling rock from the face of the cutting. Our priority is always to keep visitors and residents safe.
“We will now be working with Canal & River Trust to ensure the area is made safe as soon as possible so the popular towpath can be opened.”
Sally Boddy, regional engineer from Canal & River Trust said: “We’re pleased to be working jointly with Cheshire West & Chester Council to get the popular towpath in Chester opened.
“We know how upsetting it has been for everyone who uses this vital resource in the city centre and we apologise for the delay.”
This is great news for cyclists and other towpath users in the city. Hopefully we can all look forward to the reopening of this important route through the city sometime in the Spring of 2019!