Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by British Waterways (IW 52A)


  British Waterways does not accept the characterisation of the development and progress of the projects made by Mr Taggart on behalf of Regeneration through Heritage in his letter to the Committee of 28 September 2000.

  British Waterways has an excellent track record in establishing and maintaining partnerships to deliver sustainable development. In this geographical region, there are examples at Sheffield Basin; Clarence Dock; and Kiln Warehouse, Newark. These projects have all involved creating sustainable uses for old buildings.

  Truly sustainable development needs to be sustainable economically, environmentally and socially. Our experience tells as that all these elements need to be considered carefully together before any project or scheme goes ahead. This reflects British Waterways' role as steward and long term guarantor of the waterways and their heritage.

  Our objective for the Wakefield project is to ensure that there is a quality scheme that protects the Grade II* listed building and to encourage wider regeneration of the surrounding area. We were concerned that the viability of the proposed use of the site needed to be better understood. The partnership needed to compare the proposed use of the site with other uses to assess what gave it the best long term future. The local authority agrees that regeneration of the whole site is more important than locating the Barbara Hepworth Collection in the Warehouse. We also have reservations about the proposed alterations to the building and their impact on its heritage value and its visual amenity. Our relationship with the local authority and the regional development agency is very strong and they share our objectives. British Waterways is making good progress with the local authority in the acquisition of new and additional land to assist with site assembly.

  Regarding the Sowerby project, the Heritage Lottery Fund have indicated that they support the project in principle but the grant sought is too much. We have therefore been invited to reconsider our application and to resubmit it later. We are looking at how the funding package can be restructured, including contributing more of our own funds. We have approached Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency, for support and they have agreed to look at the proposal. We have at all times kept the partnership up to date with progress.

British Waterways

22 November 2000

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