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."