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Canal Rows Loom In Stratford

Waterway-lovers in Stratford are squaring up for a battle over plans to allow a canal boat to be moored in the canal basin to give advice to young people.

They are furious at the scheme to allow the Depot advice centre to open a canal boat in the evenings in Bancroft Basin in Waterside.

The canal boat will provide a place for people aged between 14 and 25 to get support and information on issues including careers, benefits, health, smoking, alcohol and volunteering.

But nearly 100 campaigners say the centre does not need to take to the water.

They argue that the static boat would take up vital mooring space and get in the way of working boats.

Members of the Stratford-upon-Avon Society are also opposing an application by street artist Dylan Hemley to open a working art gallery in a barge.

Mr Hemley has told Stratford District Council that the idea would help tourism.

He said:

“For some time I have wanted to move forward towards something more permanent and also try to give other artists in the area the much-needed opportunity to exhibit and sell their work.”

British Waterways supports both applications, which will be decided when the Avon Area Planning Committee meets on Thursday 27 April.

But the Inland Waterways Association argued that there is no good reason why the Depot should not be based on land.

In a letter to the council it argued:

“The canal now attracts much leisure traffic and frequently the demand for mooring space in Bancroft Basin exceeds availability.”

The Warwickshire branch of IWA added:

“This boat will never be able to use the canal on which it is to be moored as it has been built to the wrong dimensions.

“The positioning of a permanently moored boat conducting non-waterway related business will not enhance the conservation area and may well detract from it.”

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