Kidsgrove Town Deal project: Canal enhancement

The need for a plan

Canal issues

Kidsgrove town centre is fragmented and in need of improvement and investment.


The following issues are known:

  • some pedestrian routes are not formalised surfaced routes
  • there is no signage for orientation or information purposes
  • gateways/entrances are unattractive and poorly maintained
  • parts of the towpath are in poor condition
  • there is no lighting along the canal
  • vegetation and habitats could be managed better
  • the rail, canal and road systems are generally a barrier to pedestrians and cyclists
  • links from the canal to the train station are largely hidden
  • the naturally attractive elements of the canal corridor, heritage features and landscape spaces, are denuded by unsympathetic or unattractive adjacent development


Several surveys and appraisals of the area were carried out. The appraisal and consultation included a review of:

  • land use
  • building character
  • public realm
  • gateways
  • tow path condition
  • roads
  • paving
  • green space
  • significant vegetation
  • lighting
  • signage
  • street furniture

Initial proposals

Some initial proposals based on these surveys were presented at a two-day consultation in February 2022.

The public feedback was very positive. Attendees welcomed the proposals for a resurfaced towpath between Lock 41 and Harecastle Tunnel and improving various access points to the towpath. It was noted that the towpath should be maintained to a high standard to ensure it remains accessible to all.

Some of the Town Deal funding will be used to improve the paving adjacent to the tunnel keeper’s building to ensure it is safe for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists.

There were some comments regarding lighting, both in terms of how it can increase people’s perception of safety and the need to consider light pollution and nearby residents. These comments have been incorporated within the proposals.

Some attendees stated that there needed to be more bins along the towpath and these bins need to be regularly serviced. To this end, there were suggestions for a community litter picking group to encourage community ownership of the space. The possibility of installing new bins and setting up a community litter picking group is being explored.