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Plans for canal extension lodged

Wichelstowe LLP, the developer behind the Wichelstowe development, is seeking permission from Swindon Borough Council to connect an existing section of the Wilts and Berks canal in the District Centre with the waterway in East Wichel.

The Wichelstowe development is being built by the UK’s largest housebuilder Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes in partnership with Swindon Borough Council. Wichelstowe LLP has submitted a planning application for a new stretch of canal including a continuous pedestrian connection and other ecological improvements.

The application includes plans for a new crossing of the canal under Mill Lane along with a new towpath. The pedestrian route is planned to be approximately 1km long and three-metres wide. The towpath will cross the canal via a swing bridge which will remain closed to provide a footpath connection between the District Centre and East Wichel and open when boats pass through.

It’s also proposed the opposite bank to the towpath will become an ‘ecological edge’ that will provide a welcoming environment for the birds, water voles and other wildlife that make the canal their home.

Wichelstowe project director, Daniel Pavely, said: “The canal and embankments provide a strong landscape element that structures the District Centre and are important ecological habitats for a variety of wildlife. This ambitious project will further enhance the existing canal corridor which will attract locals and visitors alike, connect two communities and positively encourage people to get out and about whether that’s on foot or on a bike.”

A Wilts and Berks Canal Trust spokesman added: “We’re delighted to see this long-awaited project coming to life.  Joining these two separate sections makes excellent sense. It will enable us to offer much longer and more interesting boat trips, especially through the existing lock in East Wichel, and it’s another step towards restoring the canal in partnership with Wichelstowe LLP and Swindon Borough Council in the wider Swindon area.”

Subject to planning permission, work on the canal is expected to start in 2023 and will take a number of years to complete.

To find out more about the proposals, view the short video below:


Plans are available to review and comment via the Swindon Borough Council planning portal under reference number S/RES/22/1521. 

The Wichelstowe development is one of the largest local authority joint venture agreements in the country which will deliver 3,000 new homes over the next 20 years, along with new schools and community facilities. The 250-hectare site on the southern edge of Swindon will include extensive open spaces, nature conservation areas, playing pitches and allotments.

Homes are currently available at:

David Wilson Homes’ Orchards Rise

Barratt Homes’ Orchards View and Wichel Fields developments.