Whilst a valuable and enjoyable venue for such passing canal traffic as it attracts and casual walkers using the tow path and local footpaths there is little if any physical room for expansion. It must be acknowledge that the first developers managed to squeeze the railway and canal facilities into a narrow declivity that already accommodated the River Churnet
Certainly parking for tourist traffic is severely limited due to the position and topography of the area.
Unfortunately, the canal and railway effectively end at the Site of the Bolton Copper Works.
The site is known to be heavily contaminated by heavy metals and several elderly residents have spoken about the widespread practise in times past of burying waste that was expensive to dispose of safely. The history of the site makes further development problematic. Indeed an application to develop the site with housing, hotel, shops etc., came to an end when planners recommended that the site owner cleared the site of toxic waste before the grant of planning permission That approach by planners was plainly correct and in the interests of public safety. Unfortunately the public record now shows that this firm stance by planners is weakening.1 Freedom of Information Act applications aimed at establishing the facts remain unanswered.
The plans displayed at Ipstones Village Hall on Tuesday 17th January 20122 contain a number of options all of which appear to recommend the building of substantial numbers of houses
alongside or clustered around the present terminal point of the canal. It is submitted that these development proposals are unsuitable in the light of the extremely difficult topography and the contaminated nature of the site. Ingress and Egress onto the steep A52 from Ipstones is always going to be a problem.
A separate issue that is nonetheless important in view of the expressed wish to extend the canal further in the direction of Cauldon Lowe is the road bridge that carries traffic to and
from Ipstones over the canal. Any extension of the canal would [presumably] require the raising of the road to provide sufficient headroom for barge traffic to pass beneath the road
or some other expensive engineering exercise. As canal ownership and management will pass into the hands of private trusts from April 2012 it is very unclear how any such
necessary work would be funded.
However the site at Froghall is viewed, its topography seriously hampers any development that adds to the traffic issues that already c-ause frequent problems in the vicinity of