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WeBCan Pages


The devastation on our Canal was indeed a sorry sight to behold. The loss of water affected not only the fish which perished in huge numbers, but the swans & ducks were left without their food sources, Insects and mammals suffered greatly and many simply found they needed to find new habitats.

As a result of the water loss residents came together to form what is now know as WeBCan (short for West Bridgford Canal) with the primary aim to prevent another catastrophe.

The following articles aim to keep you informed of the progress being made, both strategically and practically.

August 10th 7:30 at The Poppy & Pint!

If you would like to have our minutes sent by email, please contact Kathleen Dunmore
WeBCan QR Code.png

July 2022  

Community Support Grant: applications to 13 different councillors with responsibility for Gamston and Lady Bay have resulted in 700 pounds funding from 4 councillors.
Removal of Norfolk Reed: To be in undertaken by a series of work parties meeting on Sundays and Mondays).  These will cover both the Gamston and Lady Bay stretches of the canal concentrating where reed coverage is most extensive.  Now that we have a partnership agreement with CRT this gives us permission to work in water and use suitable implements provided training has been received.
An offer of a storage shed has been received from the allotment holders at Eltham Rd
Individual community gardens have been given additional green bins by RBC and it may be useful to approach them for a similar service to WeBCan.
Query whether reeds can be dried and used as biomass.  Streetwise will remove waste but would charge 100 pounds per session. Alternative supplier in Meadow Lane is cheaper than Streetwise. Can reeds be shredded? - this would require a free-standing shredder which WeBCan does not currently have
Under the terms of the CRT partnership agreement, it would be useful for voluntary work to serve an educational purpose for scouts, school groups etc (tie in with wildlife survey?)
There is scope for fund raising through applications for grants, appeals and social events.
WeBCan organisational structure

Chair 		Penny
Treasurer, Website	Ruth 
Secretary 	Kathleen
Fund raising	Marek
Wildlife survey:  Sue Mallender
Other positions volunteers needed

Relationship with Grantham Canal Society ( GCS)
Complete agreement as to aims.  GCS provided much valued support and commitment for clearance works earlier this year. However, GCS is responsible for the whole of the Grantham canal and cannot focus all its energies on the Gamston and Lady Bay sections. GCS now plans to repair the culvert at Fishponds which should improve links to the Grantham reservoir and potentially improve water flow to Gamston and Lady Bay.  Continue to maintain close working relationship Rob Cook & Gary Dykes.
Holme Pierrepont Kayak Group have boats and have expressed an interest in helping to clear our section of the canal.  PA to contact them.
GCS have offered to remove shopping trolleys in water at the bridge opposite Morrisons and to cut trees once a month. 

Next steps
Simply pulling up reeds will not sort the problem of fluctuating water levels in the Lady Bay and Gamston sections of the canal.  Replacement of Norfolk reed with bur-reed could be helpful.  An alternative solution would be to install a black plastic membrane which would prevent the reed roots accessing the silt and deprives them of nutrition.  Further information is required to determine whether or not there are environmental hazards to this approach and what would be the impact on wildlife.
PG asked the question “What do we want the canal to be?” is it a wildlife reserve or a mini river? Is there scope for different approaches on different stretches of the canal?  For further discussion at the next meeting.
GCS is seeking to meet the groundsman at Cotgrave Golf Course to discuss access to their water supply to feed into the Gamston and Lady Bay sections of the canal.
Questions were asked as to what action is being taken with regard to the willow tree at the northern end of Lady Bay section of the canal.  Is this still seen as a potential cause of water loss?  What will happen to the water level in the Lady Bay section of the canal when the Environment Agency clear the entrance to their section of the canal.
Historically some canals had a plughole.  Is there one in the Lady Bay section of the canal?  Can this be established from historic records?
Date of next meeting: to be determined.

Public Meeting I0th August 2023

Introductions. - Ruth, Chris, Paul Kathleen, Marek Penny.

Paul outlined the past few months work and reported back on:

Varying water levels through monitoring which had been done regularly.  Lady Bay section of the canal divided into three parts north middle and southern. Noting that the canal drops fastest at the northern end, he also said that the culvert under the Twitchell was blocked and when remedied, the Northern section continued to drain.

The use of a borehole is under consideration and a site has been identified At the allotments at the end of Eltham Rd.  A funding application has been submitted to RBC and three quotes received for provision of a solar pump. More work needs to be done on this to ensure that this is a truly feasible option. 

Safe access to the canal bed has been investigated, plastic trays and extendable ladders have proven the best options.

Penny informed the meeting that Notts County Council were coming out this week to do an inspection on drainage to the culvert which leads from the North Lady Bay section to Lock 1.

Chris talked us through the presentation slides, saying that there were two urgent problems, one being how to stem the loss of water at the northern end and the second, how to ensure and protect the canal from losing water. The roots of the willow tree near the remains of the lock at the northern end are causing a problem as they are raised, causing damage to the canal bed.

Short term options were outlined:
Create a barrier to block the northern section, so that work can be done on an around the willow tree 
Create a central channel for the water. This option would be demanding and training required.

In the medium term there were several possible options
Do we..
Protect water levels in some sections by blocking off sections with major leaks 
Deepen and clear central channels in each section
Repair leaks (including fell willow tree)
Restore water levels through borehole abstraction
Find a hydrologist to develop a proper strategy for managing the canal as a water way or wetland

A general discussion took place with audience participation, one of which mentioned that Nottingham Trent University have a hydrology department that may be a useful contact and this could be a student project. Another member of the public mentioned that section 106 money had been used on the Gamston section of the  canal when the Gamston housing development had been built.

Tony Osbond reported that the fixed weir at Thurlbeck Dyke (spill-weir 11) had been repaired and water flow along the canal has greatly improved. 

Richard Bennett (CRT) said encouraging work had been done and that on the 10th/11th of July a site meeting of water engineer and a hydrologist was to take place to do the initial study leading to an updated water management plan – although it would be some considerable time before the completed study is published (potentially by the end of the year?)

There was a discussion on the redirection of the canal and the consequences of that, but it was felt that this was too far in the future for us to be dealing with at the present moment. Reclassification of the canal to a Navigable Working Waterway was asked about, but this is a matter for National Government and huge changes to infrastructure would be needed. It would also not necessarily bring any additional funding from CRT due to limited resources.

A question was asked if we could contact Seven Trent regarding funding. This is something that we have set aside for a later date as it is inappropriate at this present time while various other grant applications are proceeding (GCS are also seeking funding from RBC for a borehole

 More discussions were held regarding clearance of a channel and the use of a mechanical digger. This could be quicker than use of volunteers but is costly and it is not clear if a mechanical digger which can fit on the canal bank can reach across the full width of the canal.   To be looked at in greater detail when our position is clearer.

Paul, Abel distributed the QR codes for members of the audience to participate in the questionnaire re which of the above bullet pointed options to prioritise., Gary Dykes also shared the questionnaire on the West End Canal and WebCan WhatsApp groups.

The meeting closed at 9 pm

WebCan Notes of the Public Meeting held June 15th 2023 Poppy & Pint 

Constitution for WebCan
West Bridgford Canal Group (WebCan) 

The aims of WebCan  will be:
Primary: To restore consistent water levels in the Lady Bay and Gamston Canal.
Secondary: to maintain the Lady Bay and Gamston sections of the Grantham Canal as an attractive amenity for local people and haven for wildlife.
These aims may be achieved through measures such as practical volunteering including maintenance of canal channel, bank, towpath and culverts fund raising and lobbying to support and activate measures to preserve and enhance the Lady Bay and Gamston section of the Grantham Canal.
The group notes that the canal is owned by Canal and River Trust and any works on the canal may be limited by what they will allow.

There will be two types of membership:
Appointed Representatives: Nominated representatives of each of the riparian councils (Parish, Borough or County)  or community groups whose residents use the canal within the areas defined in the Aims above.
Individual Members: Individuals who support the aims of WeBCan and whose membership will begin as soon as the membership form is completed and received.
The Canal and River Trust, Grantham Canal Society and Friends of Lady Bay Canal are not members of the group but may be invited to attend meetings.
A list of all members will be kept by the secretary.

Ceasing to be a member
Members may resign at any time in writing to the secretary.
Any offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks, will not be permitted. Anyone behaving in an offensive way or breaking the equal opportunities policy may be asked not to attend further meetings or to resign from the group if an apology is not given or the behaviour is repeated. The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the management committee, accompanied by a friend, before a final decision is made.

Equal Opportunities
WeBCan will not discriminate on the grounds of sex, race (including colour, ethnic or national origin), sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religious or political belief, pregnancy or maternity, marital status or age.

Officers and committee
The business of the group will be administered by a Committee. The Committee will meet as necessary and not less than four times a year.
The Committee will consist of:
Appointed Representatives. 
Up to 8 additional members elected at a General Meeting or co-opted at the discretion of the committee.
Committee meetings will be open to any member of WeBCan wishing to attend, who may speak but not vote.
Officers are elected at a General Meeting and their roles are as follows:
Chair who shall chair both General and Committee meetings
Secretary who shall be responsible for the taking of minutes and the distribution of all papers
Treasurer who shall be responsible for maintaining accounts
In the event of an officer standing down during the year a replacement will be elected by the next General 
Meeting of members.

Annual General Meetings
An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held within fifteen months of the previous AGM.
All members will be given two weeks’ notice of such a meeting, giving the venue, date, time and agenda, and notice may be by telephone, email or post.
Nominations for the Committee may be made to the Secretary before the meeting, or at the meeting.
The quorum for the AGM will be 5% of the membership or 6 members, whichever is the greater number.
At the AGM:-
The Committee will present a report of the work of WeBCan over the year.
The Committee will present the accounts of WeBCan for the previous year. These accounts will be subject to an independent examination by a suitably qualified individual or organisation appointed by the Committee.
The officers and Committee for the next year will be elected.
Any proposals given to the Secretary at least 7 days in advance of the meeting will be discussed and may be voted on.
General Meetings
General Meetings may be convened by the Committee as often as deemed necessary.
All members will be given two weeks’ notice of such a meeting, giving the venue, date, time and agenda, and notice may be by telephone, email or post.
The quorum for a General Meeting shall be 5% of the membership or 6 members, whichever is the greater number.
Committee Meetings
Committee meetings may be called by the Chair or Secretary. 
The quorum for Committee meetings is three Committee members.

Rules of Procedure for meetings
All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find general agreement that everyone present can agree to.
If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of members present. If the number of votes cast on each side is equal, the chair of the meeting shall have an additional casting vote.

Monies received by WeBCan for the fulfilment of the Association’s objectives will be held in a WeBCan bank account created for this purpose and controlled by the Committee.
All money raised by or on behalf of WeBCan is only to be used to further the aims of the group, as specified in item 2 of this constitution.
Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement given at each meeting.
Amendments to the Constitution

Amendments to the constitution may only be made at the Annual General Meeting.
Any proposal to amend the constitution must be given to the Secretary in writing. The proposal must then be circulated with the notice of meeting.
Any proposal to amend the constitution will require a two thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote.

If a meeting, by simple majority, decides that it is necessary to close down the group it may call a General Meeting to do so. The sole business of this meeting will be to dissolve the group.
If it is agreed to dissolve the group, all remaining money and other assets, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to the Grantham Canal Society. 
This constitution was agreed, as amended, at a meeting of the full group on 13th April 2023
Date ………/…………/…………….
Name and position in group ………………………………………….
Signed ………………………………………….
Name and position in group ………………………………………….
Signed ………………………………………….

Constitution approved 13th April 2023

The meeting was attended by 50-60 people and Chaired by Cllr Penny Gowland 

1) Constitution of new group and election of committee- 

The group has been formally constituted as the West Bridgford Canal Group  (WeBCan) covering Lady Bay and Gamston/Abbey Park sections of the Grantham Canal

The aims of WeBCAN  will be:
Primary: To restore consistent water levels in the Lady Bay and Gamston /Abbey Park Canal.
Secondary: to maintain the Lady Bay and Gamston/Abbey Park sections of the Grantham Canal as an attractive amenity for local people and haven for wildlife.

These aims may be achieved through measures such as practical volunteering , fund raising and lobbying to support and activate measures to preserve and enhance the Lady Bay and Gamston/Abbey Park section of the Grantham Canal.
The group notes that the canal is owned by Canal and River Trust and any works on the canal may be limited by what they will allow.

Chair Penny Gowland,  Vice Chair Sue Mallender, Treasurer Ruth Kerry,  Secretary Kathleen Dunmore,  Liaison with GCS Hugh Crawford,  Liaison with Grantham Canal West End Group Chris Harries, Other officers Paul Abel. Marek Korczynski and Richard Mallender, plus 1representative of Abbey Park Community Association and 1 representative of  Gamston and Holme Pierrepont parish council. 

11 people in all, 5 was agreed as the minimum for a quorate committee meeting. In the event of a split vote the Chair will have the casting vote.

A copy of the constitution to be circulated with the minutes and to be amended to include a clause on GDPR.

2) Report from EA and GCS on progress with securing water supply from the River Trent and other voluntary activities planned and undertaken

GCS volunteer working party 4, 18, and 25 February and possibly 4 or 11 March, starting from outside EA Offices near Lock 1 and working up Lady Bay Canal potentially on to Gamston/Abbey Park section of the canal.  Team will check culverts and clear overhanging vegetation as well as general tidying up.  

It was thought that all culverts except the culvert closest to Lock 1 are now clear but this needs to be demonstrated (Action GCS?)

To volunteer for a workday Contact Grantham Canal West End Group (GCWEG) at Add Facebook Link or if not on Facebook email XX  Future volunteer activity will be limited during the bird nesting season which runs till August but will then resume.  GCWEG has insurance through CRT  so there is no requirement for volunteers to pay to join GCS, although payments to GCS help fund provision of much needed equipment and contribute to enabling more substantial canal works and assist in securing matchfunding.
Richard Cooper EA advised on progress with the possible option of installing a solar pump at the EA end of the canal to facilitate bringing in water from the Trent during possible drought periods.  Whilst this remains an option there are practical issues which need to be explored. 
*  Is the water in the Trent of sufficient quality to be safely fed in to the Grantham Canal RC following up
*. EA does not own its own building or the adjoining land on which a pump would stand.  Both are owned by the County Council which may also be responsible for maintenance of the culverts.  Will the County Council be prepared to accommodate a pump on its land ( RC following up, Penny Gowland County Councillor to also explore)

RC recommended that other options for accessing water should also be explored.  If water could be brought in from the Thurl Beck (near Nottingham Airport) this would benefit both the Lady Bay and the Gamston/Abbey Park sections of the Canal. EA cannot help with funding this option but could advise on budget and on match funding opportunities (Report back from RC requested)

Related issue of unexplained swan deaths (from birdflu?) in the Grantham Canal and on the Trent.  Dead swans should be reported (post meeting note Simon Withers of Friends of Victoria Embankment is a local swan expert).

Questions from the floor about Severn Trent’s (ST)  responsibility for reducing water flow contributing to Summer drought and their responsibility for taking action if/when there are floods to which the canal may have contributed (as at Trent Boulevard end of Rutland Rd). RC has tried for several months to open dialogue with ST with no success.  (Cllr Penny Gowland to write to ST and request co-operation)

3). Presentation from Notts Wildlife Trust (NWT)
Ben Driver gave a presentation outlining how NWT can work with local groups to provide a plan to manage their area for the benefit of wildlife through designation as a local nature reserve.  The canal would remain in the ownership of CRT with whom NWT have a good working relationship. A similar project has just been undertaken for the Hickling section of the canal (copy requested). Ruschcliffe Council has a budget to pay for this type of work and application should be made through Paul Phillips (WeBCan to submit application for funding)

4) Possible volunteer activities this year
The Hook is an example of a local nature reserve.  Friends of the Hook have a programme of year round volunteer activity  (including an invertebrate survey and butterfly count) and we should seek to learn from them and potentially carry out our own wildlife and environmental monitoring,  (Sue Mallender to follow up)

It would also be useful to carry out a survey of canal towpath users and find out how often they walk/cycle along the canal towpath, what they value about the canal and what use they make of other local environmental amenities.  GCS mechanically counts numbers of people passing along the canal at various checkpoint. The Hickling group (GCWRG) has carried out such a survey and it would make sense to learn from their experience (Kathleen Dunmore to follow up)

5) Fundraiser activities
Paul Abel made a presentation about the newly formed Grantham Canal Fish Conservation Society  (GCFCS) which has started a Crowdfunder campaign to pay for a solar pump which will draw water from the Trent and protect fish in the Lady Bay section of the Grantham canal at all times. Paul explained that money raised in this way can help secure match funding from a range of public bodies including the Environment Agency and Sport England. (See attached leaflet for more details)

6) Need for Plan B – if there is still potential for drought this summer
There is no certainty that a further drought can be avoided this summer.  This means that there is a threat to wildlife for whom the canal is their home.  It is not part of the remit of any of the organisations present in the room (EA, GCS, NWT) to attempt to rescue wildlife under threat.  Nor does CRT take any responsibility in this matter. (WebCan Committee to try to find organisations which do have expertise in this matter and invite them to make a presentation at the next meeting)

7) AOB
Various people expressed their outrage and frustration that the Lady Bay and Gamston/Abbey Park sections of the Grantham Canal have been allowed to get to the point where the canal alternately runs dry and floods. There is no clear explanation for why this is the case, merely a range of hypotheses which need to be tested. Given the plethora of statutory and voluntary organisations with an interest in this matter it is difficult to discern a clear path as to what will be done by whom to ensure that there is not a sequence of drought and flood events.  (WeBCan Committee to investigate and report back to next meeting)
The Chair expressed her thanks to all speakers and to the organisations they represent for their efforts on behalf of the Lady Bay and Gamston/Abbey Park sections of the Grantham Canal.  

8) Date of next meeting –  7.30 pm Thursday 13 April 2023 at the Poppy and Pint

Public Meeting 9th February 2023

The Chair Penny Gowland thanked all volunteers, fundraisers, litter pickers and everyone who had contributed to bringing the West Bridgford section of the Grantham Canal up the public agenda.  She welcomed representatives from the County Council, Severn Trent and the Environment Agency to the meeting.

Minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated and could be accessed on the WebCan Facebook page.  A copy would be circulated with the minutes of this meeting and if anyone has any comments please reply by e-mail to 

Tony Osborn advised that a series of GCS working parties held during February had attracted 41 lady Bay residents, 17 new GCS members, with a total of 85 volunteers over three weekends and a maximum of 29 on one Saturday. Several Duke of Edinburgh bronze award students had attended on more than one occasion. Working parties are now paused during the nesting season but will resume in August/ September.  The Chair congratulated the team on the excellent work done and commented that the section of the canal near Lock 1 outside the EA office had not looked as good as this during the 20 years she had been cycling past it.

Discussions continue between GCS and the Environment Agency about the benefits of a solar pump versus a borehole as a means of securing the water supply to West Bridgford sections of the canal and it is likely that a submission for funding will be made to Severn Trent.  Cotgrave Golf Club already has a borehole and a team from GCS and WebCan is going to visit and learn from them next week.

CRT was unable to send a representative to this meeting but Kathleen Dunmore advised that dredging work had taken place on sections of both the Lady Bay and Gamston parts of the canal and further work would be continued after the nesting season.  There had been discussion with the CRT team about falling water levels along the West Bridgford section of the canal and an engineer is expected to visit on Monday.

Callum ?  Flood Risk Officer for the County Council advised that the County Council is now aware of the culvert adjacent to Trent Blvd and is working out how to ensure that any blockages are cleared and water flow is maintained.

Chris Harris and Paul Abel presented a powerpoint presentation (attached) explaining the principles of how a borehole operates, the amount of space it takes up and how it could be powered.  Some discussion about whether one or more boreholes are needed and where it/ they should be sited.  A borehole within the West Bridgford section of the canal provides local water flow.  One sited further upstream at Cotgrave or Bassingfield would benefit a longer section of the canal but there is a possibility of water loss through evaporation which might minimise the flow of water reaching the Gamston and lady Bay sections.  GCS and WebCan to work together to bottom out this issue.

Cost of application for an abstraction licence for a borehole needs to be clarified.  Richard Cooper (EA) and Paul Abel to work together on this.

The water level in the Lady Bay and Gamston sections of the canal had fallen significantly since 22nd March (although it has since risen again).  Measures are proposed to block individual culverts (assuming permission can be obtained from CRT) to ascertain whether there are any leaks in the canal and if so where these might be.  It was not considered advisable to apply Siltex until this issue has been resolved and the Siltex application which had been scheduled for April will now take place in November. 

Tony Osbond advised of the existence of two culverts which run under the canal which could be checked using a torch.  He can provide a map indicating their exact location.
There are also abandoned shallow boreholes in Gamston connected with construction of the new housing estate.  These are unlikely to be useful but could be checked out.  (Rob Cook to follow up with British Geological Survey).

David Cook from Severn Trent spoke briefly about the background to the decision to divert sewage to a single pumping station at Radcliffe on Trent.  This decision was in accordance with the Water Framework Directive. It was unfortunate that the impact on the Grantham Canal had not been fully considered at the time, but there was no legislative requirement for this to be done.

Severn Trent has a grant giving fund which can give awards of between £10-200K under the themes People Place and Environment.  Decisions are taken by an Independent Customer Panel but the Severn Trent team can work with potential applicants to ensure that a good quality application is submitted. GCS has given early notice of an application for funding for either a borehole or a solar pump.  GCS and WebCan to coordinate on this.  
Severn Trent also operates an employee volunteer programme - with all employees having to do 2 days a year voluntary work.  David is always looking for ideas for what these volunteers could do and he would be interested to hear our thoughts on this.

Noting that Severn Trent is not the only source of public funding and that bidding is open for the Rushcliffe Council Shared Prosperity Fund and it is a Webcan priority to submit a bid by mid-May 2023.
Marek then led a brief group discussion about what do we want from the canal? How can its use be integrated with other community and environmental activities which take place in Lady Bay, Abbey Park and Gamston?  Is there a natural link with the Nottingham Forest football ground which is very close to Lock One? Can it provide teaching material on history or environmental matters for local schools?

A series of group discussions produced the following ideas:
Create a nature trail: increase the variety of trees and plant life and hence seek to encourage nectar cross pollination 
Educational role: run canal safety and heritage days, link in as a space for Lady Bay Arts Festival r Open Gardens (or similar events in Gamston/Abbey Park)
Fitness and leisure activities: could the towpath provide an improved route from A to B for cyclists, hikers and runners?  Is there potential to bring back canoeists?
Wildlife and water sanctuary: the path and public spaces need to be kept clean and attractive. Are there additional amenities (such as benches) which could be provided
Could more be made of the area around lock one as a public amenity: perhaps with a restaurant or cafe and some refurbished attractive lock gates
Marek and WebCan to follow up and report back to next public meeting.

Date of next public meeting 15 June 2023  (Paul is this what you have agreed with Poppy and Pint?)

Public Meeting 13th April 2023

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