The Lock Island Project is a collaboration between Avon Navigation Trust and Evesham Town Council.
Avon Navigation Trust
Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) is run as a not for profit charity. ANT’s objectives are to the preservation, maintenance in good order, and improvement of the waterways for the general public.
ANT’s long history can be traced right back to the time of Charles I when the river was the main highway up until the railways started to take over in the 1800’s. As with many of the inland waterways the navigation then fell into decline. The lower section of the Avon was then the very first waterways to be renovated by the newly formed Inland Waterways Association in the 1950’s and 60’s. The work continued and in 1974 the upper sections were also re-opened to navigation. In 2010 the 2 sections joined together (which was the first time since they were split in 1717), under the joined up name of Avon Navigation Trust.
Today ANT keep the river open and running for the thousands of leisure boaters that enjoy this amazing natural recreational attraction every year. In 2018 over 3000 boat licenses were purchased. It is these licences that make up the majority of the income for ANT and cover their running cost in a sustainable way. ANT do not receive any government funding or grants to help with the core costs.
ANT have a small team of engineers (4 people for the whole river) and are managed by a Chief Executive based at their boat yard at Wyre Piddle. It is a large task for this small team to maintain the 17 locks and keep the river at its best. It is made possible by the help of volunteers, and at present ANT have just over 100 active volunteers who help with tasks such as cutting the grass and manning the locks in the summer. Between the 1970’s and 2010 very little major improvements were carried out on the locks, so there is now a main schedule of works to get the locks and infrastructure up to a ‘steady state’. So whilst ANT are in a relatively strong and stable position, there is no surplus funding available to do any projects outside of this fundamental engineering schedule. But, as leisure is changing, and with all the demand for doing more with the river, this is why projects like the Evesham Activity Centre are now so relevant and ANT are looking for external funding to help make them a reality and fulfil the huge potential.
For more information about ANT, visit the ANT website at https://www.avonnavigationtrust.org
Evesham Town Council
Evesham Town Council is at the first tier of local government in the town. The council comprises 24 elected councillors representing six wards across the town.
The town council’s responsibilities include the Town Hall, the historic Almonry Museum, the floral planters around the town centre and the Christmas lights as well as popular events such as the Mop Fair and the annual Bonfire and Fireworks.
One of the council’s key responsibilities is the creation and delivery of the Evesham Town Plan. This is a document which feeds into the local planing process and helps guide the development of the town. As part of the Town Plan consultation process, the river was identified as one of the primary assets of the town and a focus for leisure and tourism development.
You can read more about Evesham Town Council at the council’s website: https://www.eveshamtowncouncil.gov.uk/