This week a £9.8 million bid to restore the four miles of canal between Storehouse and Saul Junction will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) from a joint partnership led by SDC.

The lottery bid is a joint proposal from Stroud District Council and including the Cotswold Canals Trust, Stroudwater Navigation Archive Charity and the Stroud Valleys Canal Company.

Jim White, chair of the Cotswold Canals Trust said: “This is a strong bid resulting from a lot of hard work.

“Not only does it bring massive benefits in its own right, but it also connects the previous restoration to 2500 miles of inland waterways.”

Requested funds would be used to take the canal under the M5, reinstating the missing mile near Eastington and would involve taking the waterway under the railway line at Stonehouse Ocean.

As well as restoring the canal, plans include creating over 30 hectares of priority habitats in one of UK’s largest biodiversity offsetting projects.

“Stroudwater Navigation Connected is an exciting project which will bring huge heritage, leisure and ecological benefits,” said SDC chief executive David Hagg.

“This is bid is our best chance to make it happen.”

Studies suggest that boaters and visitors attracted by the restored canal would spend over £5 million a year in the district.

A previous bid, submitted by the Cotswold Canals Trust in 2015, was rejected by the HLF, citing a lack of funding commitments and uncertainties over land ownership.

Prospects for the latest bid have been transformed by Stroud District Council committing £3million, together with large contributions from Gloucestershire County Council and the Canal & River Trust.

The restoration between Stonehouse and Thrupp has already transformed the canal corridor, attracting around £113M of private investment.