Information about the development of Brimscombe Port.
Brimscombe Port is a former inland port dating back to the 1780s. Following the decline of the canals as a mode of transport the port became redundant and was in-filled in the 1930s and latterly developed as an industrial site in the 1960s. Today the port site still acts as an industrial site but has become unattractive and is showing signs of its age.
The Council is promoting the development of this brown field site. Initially Brimscombe Port was part of the Cotswold Canal Regeneration project, the original aim of which was to reinstate the canals from Stonehouse ‘Ocean’ to Brimscombe Port. The port was acquired in 2009 from British Waterways by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA); the expectation at that time was that it would deliver both a redeveloped port and provide funding for other sections of canal. Stroud Valleys Canal Company (SVCC) was set up by 4 key partners, including the Council, to hold the property.
After the property crash in 2009, subsequent marketing proved the site to be unviable, the canal project was scaled back to finish at Bowbridge and prospects of the port being redeveloped without considerable public funding were negligible.
Current redevelopment plans – phase 1
There has now been a necessary shift from seeing Brimscombe Port as delivering the canal infrastructure to a standalone project. There is a growing need to deliver housing here (a minimum of 150 dwellings in the local plan), but the expensive canal cut and basin are required as an integral part of flood alleviation to enable any redevelopment of the port.
Funding in the form of a £2m loan has been secured from Homes England, plus the use of any surplus income from rental income from the Mill. In December 2015 the Council agreed to contribute £1m of capital towards the redevelopment and in April 2018 a further £1.6 million of capital funding to bridge the viability gap was approved.
Since 2015, the Council has progressed the redevelopment of the site and some key achievements have been
- the appointment of Atkins who are delivering the design for the infrastructure on the site.
- the purchase of the Ship Inn pub which stands at an important location on the site, and which will be impacted when a new bridge is constructed.
- ground investigations have now been completed, an ecological survey of the whole site carried out and an archaeological report provided, which all aid with the de-risking of the site.
- discussions have been undertaken with all affected landowners.
- improved management of and lettings on the site to maximise surplus income for use in the redevelopment.
The Highways Authority has approved the proposed infrastructure plans in principle. A planning application will soon be prepared for the infrastructure, which will include the canal, basin, new access road into the port and the road, bridge and canal and river crossing under Brimscombe Hill.
The procurement of a development partner is now being progressed. A delivery strategy for the redevelopment will be presented to Strategy and Resources Committee on the 4th October.