Controversy rages regarding the funding by Daventry Town Council (DTC) of Friends of Daventry Open Spaces (FODOS) - an organisation opposed to plans for the Daventry Canal!
Questions have been raised in the local press about the possible ‘illegal’ funding of FODOS by DTC to mount a legal challenge to Daventry County Council’s (DDC) recent planning applications for the WaterSpace and canal.
Last year DTC gave £850 to FODOS towards their legal fees, which the Council’s clerk stated could be challenged and seen as a possible misappropriation of funds. Despite this, the Council voted last month to give FODOS a further £1,500 towards their legal fees, subject to checks and clarification about how the money was to be used.
The legal fees are to be used by FODOS to submit an application to register the Eastern Way playing fields as a ‘town green’, in an attempt to thwart the efforts of DDC to turn this under-used resource into the WaterSpace terminus of the proposed Daventry Canal.
On top of which there is likely to be additional legal costs from DDC to fight the legal challenge by FODOS. All this unnecessary expense will have to come out of local taxpayer’s pockets.
Demands have been made by local residents for answers to ten questions:
1. Who are the individuals behind FODOS? This is apparently an unregistered organisation with no more than 10 members.
2. Does it have a constitution?
3. Does it have charitable objectives?
4. What is the registered address of this organisation?
5. Is this organisation politically motivated?
6. Do members of DTC have any connection with FODOS?
7. Have all relevant interests been declared by members of the Council in the funding of FODOS?
8. To whom are funds being paid?
9. Have proper accounting records been kept of how the funds have been used?
10. What ‘checks and clarifications’ are to be made by DTC about how the money is to be used?
Neither DTC nor FODOS have come forward to adequately respond to these and other questions that are being circulated over this matter.
Daventry Town Council (DTC) has turned down an invitation from Daventry Canal Association (DCA) to become members and trustees of the proposed Daventry Canal Trust, which DCA was hoping to set up in partnership with the local councils, British Waterways, landowners and other interested local organisations to help ensure that the proposed canal is developed in the best interests of the local community.
The decision to turn down DCA’s invitation to join the Trust was made at a Council meeting on Monday 12 September. Although numerous requests had been made by DCA to present their proposals to DTC the Association was not allowed to present its case.
The Town Clerk had made a recommendation to the Council to delay any decision until after the planning applications for the canal and WaterSpace had been determined by the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. However, despite the Town Clerk’s recommendation, Cllr Lynne Taylor stated that DTC was opposed to the development due to be built on the Eastern Way playing field and Council members rejected the invitation to join the Trust, thus ruling themselves out of all future decision making concerning the Trust.
At the same meeting, and in defiance of the canal plans put forward by Daventry District Council, DTC decided to back a plan by Friends of Daventry Open Spaces to get town green status for the playing field to prevent any future development on the site. DTC has agreed to write to Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) to request that NNC launches an independent consultation into whether the Eastern Way playing field should be protected.
At last the details of the planning application for the canal have been announced by WNDC. For more information go to http://www.wndc.org.uk/planning-services/current-applications/search-planning-applications/ and search for planning application reference 11/0052/FULWND.
Daventry Canal Association (DCA) welcomes the publication of the plans and will be responding to the application with our views on the proposals for the canal. However, there is a large amount of information to be digested in a relatively short period of time. We welcome any suggestions and comments from our members and the wider community.
We support the plans as a means of bringing long term commercial and cultural vitality to Daventry, with the potential for attracting more visitors and generating additional employment within the area, particularly in the retail sector.
The planning application highlights the importance of canals to the Tourism and Local, Recreational and Community policies. Since the district has no natural water features of significance, the canals and their feeder reservoirs make a particularly important contribution to the character of the area and its attraction for tourists.
Parts of the reservoir and its environs have been designated as a County Wildlife Site, a Local Nature Reserve and a Conservation Area. The canal will serve to increase public access to, and enjoyment of, this rural area to the north of Daventry town centre. The design of the canal also ensures that it will sit appropriately within the existing rural landscape.
Expiry date for consultation is 29 September 2011.
Latest news from Daventry Canal Association
A well attended second general meeting of the Association was held on 15 August 2011. Welcome guest at the meeting was James Clifton, Enterprise Manager with British Waterways, who gave a short talk about his background and experience on several waterways redevelopment schemes, and provided some useful advice concerning the proposed plans for the Daventry Canal.
Chairman, Dean Hawkey, gave a presentation on the Association’s achievements to date, and plans for its continuing activities. One of the principal points for discussion was the proposal to establish a canal trust to acquire the land required for the canal, and to build the canal itself. Members passed a resolution authorising the management committee to look into the feasibility of establishing the proposed trust. It was also resolved to defer the introduction of a life membership subscription until the first AGM in March 2011.
The management committee was strengthened by the appointment of two additional committee members: David Cousins as Treasurer and Richard Saillet as Membership Secretary. The newly enlarged committee held its first meeting on 20 August with the announcement that the detailed planning application for the canal had been submitted that week by Daventry District Council to West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. Details of the application are eagerly anticipated, and the committee will then formulate a response to the application. Further announcements on this subject will be posted on the website when the details become available.
Not only has the Daventry Canal Association been featured on National radio (Radio 4, Wednesday, 29 June), but the story has now been picked up by BBC TV. The proposed plans for the canal were featured on the Breakfast Show this morning (Sunday, 3 July) with two broadcasts of the item, before 8 am and 9 am. The interview with David Collins on behalf of the Association is expected to be re-broadcast this evening, after 9 pm on the BBC News channel. So, if you missed it this morning there is an opportunity to see it again this evening. Also interviewed were Councillor Chris Miller on behalf of Daventry District Council and Bob Waldock on behalf of the Friends of Daventry Open Spaces.
Welcome to all our new members who signed up at the Braunston Historic Boat Rally last weekend (25/26 June). It was an excellent two days of boating nostalgia. Well organised, as usual, by Tim Coughlan and his team at Braunston Marina.
You might also like to listen to a repeat on the BBC iPlayer of the Eddie Mair PM show that went out at 5 pm today (29 June) on Radio 4. Association spokesman, David Collins, was interviewed by Nigel Cassidy about the canal plan. We continue to do all we can to raise the profile of the proposed Daventry Canal.
Daventry Canal Association is pleased to announce that it will be working closely with Richard Glen Associates on key aspects of the Daventry Canal. Dean Hawkey, the Association’s Chairman, said: “Richard Glen Associates have long experience of working on Waterspace projects across the UK and will bring unrivalled expertise to Daventry Canal Association’s efforts to develop the canal.”
Richard Glen said, “We are delighted to have been asked to come on board at the beginning of such an exciting project. We very much look forward to working closely with the Daventry Canal Association and assisting them making the Daventry Canal a reality.”
Richard Glen Associates have provided input to Hyder Consulting’s proposals in recent years which has led to the application for Outline Planning Permission to West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. Daventry District Council’s submission is imminent for the Application for Detailed Planning Consent for the 2.5 km stretch of canal from the Northern Way Bridge to the junction with the Grand Union Canal.
Daventry Canal Association has seen a significant growth in its membership in the first three months since its inaugural meeting on 11 March 2011. “We shall be exhibiting at the Braunston Historic Boat Rally on 25/26 June and fully expect to augment our membership further as a result,” said Dean.
Chairman, Dean Hawkey, has announced that Daventry Canal Association plans to begin construction of the canal as soon as possible following approval of the planning application by Daventry District Council (DDC). Dean confirmed that this will begin with some minor works at the town end of the canal, by the Northern Way bridge, involving alterations to fences, hedgelines, groundworks, etc., where the canal joins the Country Park.
Dean says, "We realise that there are local concerns about the loss of the Eastern Way playing fields as a result of the WaterSpace development. However, we firmly believe that the building of the canal arm will create far more open space along the eastern edge of Daventry Country Park than is being lost to the WaterSpace development; with the additional benefit that this will act as a natural buffer zone to prevent any future housing development towards the Park."
Commenting on how he believed the canal plans would proceed he stated: "It is our intention as an Association to establish (with others) a Daventry Canal Trust to build and operate the canal. The initial pre-requisite for this will be to raise funds of £5000 to obtain charitable status for the Trust. As soon as the planning application is approved we intend to approach the largest Business Rates payers in Daventry District (on behalf of the putative Trust) to solicit the necessary funds to start the process. Our aim is for the Trust to purchase the land required for the canal and Country Park extension. We propose to launch a public appeal for funds later this year, once the detailed planning permission has been obtained. We would hope to have the backing of DDC, and that of the Town Council, for this proposal."
"When we have a reasonable expectation of the funds for the land purchase", he continued, "we intend to seek the balance of the funding from the National Lottery and other charitable sources for a phased approach (we think over five years) to building the canal and all its structures. "
The first phase of this approach will be the construction of a winding hole and junction-to-be with the Grand Union Canal, including the creation of a new bridge to carry the towpath over the winding hole, which will become the start of the Daventry Canal Arm.
"We believe that using volunteer labour and enlisting technical support from British Waterways (BW) and the Waterways Recovery Group, we can reduce the cost of building the canal appreciably", says Dean, "but we would happily defer to any Council initiative which seemed likely to deliver the project quicker, even if at greater cost, provided this did not come from the local council taxpayers."
"We have ideas for the constitution of the Canal Trust, to involve all the stakeholders in the Trust's management, including DDC, the Town Council, landowners, BW and users, to represent the expectations of all those with an interest, mainly local people."
"We have met with nothing but enthusiasm for this approach in our discussions with local residents, boaters and representatives of other organisations like rambling and angling associations. We shall be developing our approach and gathering further support at forthcoming events."
"We would like DDC to acknowledge that in the absence of public funding for the Canal (a prudent approach which we support) a Trust is the preferred way ahead, and that DDC and the Town Council will support our efforts as a catalyst in forming this body for the public benefit."
We welcome Daventry District Council's outline application for development of Site 3 and 6 next to Eastern Way near Daventry town centre, which will include the proposed WaterSpace, 300 dwellings, educational and youth/community facilities, multi-use games area, health centre, offices and hotel. The area will also include a section of canal, public open spaces and landscaping. This development will be a great step forward in improving the town centre for the community, and will attract new businesses and visitors to the town.
'Daventry Can' is the possitive message we want to send about the future of Daventry Canal