THE first planning application submitted as part of the canal regeneration project - proposals for a new £200,000 bridge at Upper Mills Industrial Estate in Stonehouse – was approved by councillors on Monday.

A special development control committee meeting was held at Ebley Mill to discuss plans by the Cotswold Canals Trust to replace the current bridge across the Stroudwater Canal.

The present metal bridge leading to the industrial estate - built when the watercourse closed in 1954 - will be demolished and a new concrete crossing about two metres higher will be built.

Construction of the new bridge means the canal will be diverted to the north of the existing watercourse, towards the A419, by around six metres, so that canal boats can once again pass through.

The road level will also have to be raised so that it fits in with the higher bridge.

Officials also plan to build a slipway for the launching of boats.

SDC recieved 23 letters of support, six letters of objection and six of comment.

Among the letters of objection was one from a resident whose house is near the bridge.

He is concerned that the rise in road level will affect the access to the back of his property and may mean his garden is overlooked.

Letters in support mentioned the positive impact of the restored canal on tourism and business.

Nine councillors voted in favour of the plans, with the condition that privacy be maintained for the resident living closest to the bridge. Two councillors objected.

The bridge will be capable of carrying 44-tonne lorries, and will be constructed out of reinforced concrete with red brick facing - similar to the nearby Downton Road bridge.

Work is due to start early in the new year – with access to the industrial estate maintained by a temporary causeway.

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