Barging through shopping
On June 15 I wrote about Birmingham's canals as the Human Rivers of Birmingham, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2016/06/human-rivers-drawing-dizzy-landscape.html.
An exciting opportunity to extend these human rivers by reinstating a former canal line, the Lapal Canal, looks set to continue the dizzying landscape and opportunities for both exercise and enjoyment along Birmingham's canals.
The Lapal Canal is the eastern half of the Dudley No.2 canal which was built to join the Dudley Canal with the Worcester and Birmingham canal and opened in 1798, http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/selly-oak-lapal-canal-plans-6194800, acting as a bypass to the congested canal route through the centre of Birmingham.
In November 2015, contractors Carey helped excavate 2000 cubic meters of infill which had accumulated in the Harborne Wharf section of the Lapal Canal adjacent to Harborne Lane, https://bcnsociety.com/2015/11/10/lapal-canal-trust-dudley-no-2-canal-work-has-started/. P.J.Carey (Contractors) Ltd started remediation works in June 2014 to the Battery site and their excavations to Harborne Wharf have helped give an idea of the beautiful route restoring the Lapal Canal. The wharf also offers a very visible piece of canal that needs linking to the Worcester and Birmingham canal along a route adjacent to the new Sainsbury's superstore.
In December 2015 the City Council approved plans for development of the former Battery site in Selly Oak by developer Harvest, a joint venture between Sainsbury's and Land Securities, http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/commercial-property/green-light-new-sainsburys-selly-10631624. I noted these plans in 2011, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/queen-elizabeth-hospital-plaza-and.html.
Image of the proposed plans reproduced from http://sellyoak-regeneration.co.uk/the-plan/
The photos below, taken on 23 June, show the Battery site and the accompanying history boards which show the fascinating history of the site and hard work to treat the industrial legacy of the site.
Plans were submitted in March 2016 for student accommodation as part of the redevelopment which would be sited adjacent to the Worcester and Birmingham canal, http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/commercial-property/500-new-student-rooms-coming-11176416.
Image of the proposed student accommodation, reproduced from: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/commercial-property/500-new-student-rooms-coming-11176416
A recent planning application, 2016/05736/PA, shows how the new Sainsbury's superstore development has set aside space for the link from the Birmingham and Worcester canal but also how it could add a real bonus to the regeneration of the Battery site by being completed at the same time. The link would bring canal boat users nearby to enjoy the amenities while offering a buzz for people wanting to use the towpath and route as part of a network of cycle routes.
The project to reinstate the Lapal Canal is a big project and one that needs funding but developing it in stages and offering an extension of the dizzying landscape of Birmingham's Human Rivers should surely be something we want to achieve soon.
The following images show the Harborne Wharf from a recent walk past on the 6th July.
View under the new bridge on Harborne Lane towards Battery site and connection to the Worcester and Birmingham canal.