A bold vision for Brimscombe Port could move closer next week with Stroud District Council already touting for a development partner to make the dreams a reality.
It was the end of 2018 when the district council first announced the idea for a multi-million pound redevelopment of the site, which would also include 150 new homes.
Since then it has been working quietly with partners to develop a vision it hopes will breathe new life into the former industrial site and historic canal basin.
‘This is a great chance to build a distinctive community with energy efficient homes, enhance biodiversity with new habitats, create open spaces, enhance green travel routes, and play an important part in the restoration of the canal between Brimscombe and Saul,’ said district council leader, Doina Cornell.
Once a bustling inland port which could cater for 100 vessels – the canal and basin were filled in during the 1950’s and today, the industrial buildings on-site are labelled ‘in need of replacement’ by the local authority.
The council now faces the challenge of finding a business partner capable of redeveloping the brownfield site, while also preserving important heritage buildings such as the listed stone-built Port Mill and Salt Warehouse.
As well as new homes, the council believes the right scheme can create employment; commercial, retail, leisure and public spaces; community and business opportunities – in addition to creating more than 20 moorings at a destination for boaters and other tourists. The plan is for the canal basin to help address flooding too.
The council is also the lead development partner in the Cotswold Canals Connected project, which by 2023 will see a nine mile stretch of the waterway between Saul and Thrupp linked to the national inland waterway network, thanks to £8.9 million from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
Brimscombe Port is intended to be the destination at the eastern end of the canal.
Next week, Stroud District Council’s development control committee will consider an application for planning permission to build the canal basin and highways infrastructure, which will pave the way for a development partner to work with the Council to redevelop the site.
A developer partner will then help the council prepare a detailed application for the scheme and more public consultation will take place before an application is submitted.
By Andrew Merrell