Ribble Link Trust AGM 2002

The 2002 Annual General Meeting of the Trust was held on Monday 11th November in the Main Committee Room at County Hall in Preston.

Cliff Fazackerley, the Chairman of the Trust welcomed everyone to the 2002 Annual General Meeting of the Ribble Link Trust and before starting the proceedings thanked Lancashire County Council, and in particular Cllr Don Yates, for their kind invitation & generosity in allowing us hold our AGM at County Hall.

Special guests, Mr Roger Hanbury Chief Excutive of The Waterways Trust, Debbie Lumb - BW manager, Lancaster Canal and Mr Chris Smith of Video Active joined us for the evening.

Chairman's Report

Last year I reported that 2001 had been the most successful year to date for the Trust. This year, however, has been even more successful - for what else can I say - its done! The Link as I am sure that you are all well aware has been completed and officially opened.

When we embarked on this project we envisaged that the Trust would build the Link with assistance from WRG and other volunteers, but in the end the scheme was completed via a very successful Partnership. These partners being LCC, TWT, BW & RLT and of course not forgetting our very important funding partner, The Millennium Commission. Without all these partners the Link could not have been completed - certainly not at this time, therefore on behalf of the Trust I would like to say a great big thank you to all of them.

The construction was completed in time for our inaugural cruise held on the 12th July and our thanks go to the BW engineers and the contractor Gleeson for all their efforts in achieving this. It was a close call, in fact the road at lock 8 was constructed during the morning of the 12th, but considering the problems they faced during the construction, this was a minor inconvenience and we were all very pleased that everything went as planned. Thanks once again to Gleesons and the BW team lead by David Baldacchino & David Goodey.

The construction was held up on several occasions - originally, as you all know, by the Foot & Mouth outbreak, then the weather and at other times even the birds held up the work due to a prolonged nesting season.

Then as we neared completion a couple of the landowners tried to put a spoke on the works. But that is all behind us and the Millennium Ribble Link is finally fully open for all to enjoy.

In fact the Link has become quite a tourist attraction with the focal point being our Millennium Man situated at the top of three-rise staircase locks. Cars can be found parked at the round about on Tom Benson way on most days, and locals and tourists alike can be seen on a daily basis walking along the route. Anglers are also laying claim to their pitches and trying their luck from the banks of the navigation, and boat passage up & down the Link was completely booked up until the end of the season, Debbie‘s team are now taking bookings for next season. Debbie will also give us an up-date on future proposals on the Link & the Lancaster Canal, following the close of this meeting.

As stated earlier the inaugural and grand opening cruise took place on the 12th July and over 80 boats took part in the spectacular event. A number of boats made the first cruise from the Lancaster Canal - the flotilla being met at the confluence with the River Ribble by a convey of boats from the Preston's Riversway marina.

We received a tremendous welcome from the hundreds of spectators who turned up to see the event. A town crier read out the names of the craft, church bells rang and a daytime firework display laid on by BW could be seen on the River.

What a weekend it was - adorned as arranged with beautiful weather. During the weekend a number of boats made the historic journey up the Link to the Lancaster Canal - making history by being the first boats to cruise from the main system onto the isolated Lanky canal.

All credit for an absolutely splendid weekend must go to our Vice Chairman Frank Parker, ably assisted by Irene and the rest of his team who put in a tremendous amount of hard work into organising the entire event. Thank you Frank and thanks to your team.

As is the norm these days we had a further opening, this time the official opening, with The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP unveiling the way-marker. This took place on the 20th September at the Millennium three-rise locks and once again we all had a pleasant day.

During the twenty years that it has taken from the initial conception of the Link to its completion there have been numerous individuals on the committee and several chairman attempting to control them. Their efforts lead the way and all of them deserve thanks for their efforts. Thanks once again to all our partners for without their help and assistance we would not be celebrating today.

Once again I wish also to thank all the members of the current committee, for their help and support during the last 12 months and finally my personal thanks to Dave Morrison of Lynbrook Reprographic and Keith Morrison of Lynprint - for giving up their valuable time to assist in producing the Ribble Ripples and course not forgetting our own John Clegg for editing the magazine and all his efforts on producing our superb web page.

Future of the Trust

This was thrown open to the floor for discussion.

It was decided that the Trust will remain in its present state, at least for the time being, to maintain a watching brief on the Link.

We intend to deregister as a limited company, thereby saving a great deal of expense but retain our charitable status and remain as an environmental body.

We will report to BW, via the user group meetings, any concerns which are raised via the membership or the general public. The Trust committee would meet once a year prior to the AGM, or if the need arose an emergency committee meeting would be called.

Membership will be replaced with a one off payment of say of £25 for all who wish to become associate life members.

Election of the Committee

Although the Trust's role may change, it was decided that the committee will remain in existence for the time being and the current members of the committee, having confirmed that they were prepared to stand again for re-election, were returned en-block.

After the close of the AGM Debbie Lumb of BW gave a brief outline of what the proposals are for the Link & the Lancaster Canal for the coming year.

This was followed by two short video extracts from Chris Smith of Video Active.

Note: The Video Active production recording the construction of the Millennium Ribble Link should be available to purchase by the end of November. Look for their advertisements in the waterways magazines.

Ribble Link Trust AGM 2000

The Annual General Meeting of the Trust was held at the Ribble Link Centre at 8pm on Monday 13th November.

Special guests at the meeting were: Andy Berriesford of Gleesons, Roger Hanbury of the Waterways Trust and David Baldacchino of British Waterways.

The Chairman of the Trust, Cliff Fazackerley, announced that finally it's ALL SYSTEMS GO.

After long drawn-out negotiations the Ribble Link Construction and Operations Ltd (a partnership between Lancashire County Council and Ribble Link Trust) have completed the agreement with The Waterways Trust. This leaves the way forward for the project to finally get underway.

Cliff Fazackerley making the long-awaited announcement.

The revised timetable, providing nothing untoward is discovered during construction, is as follows:-

  1. October 2000
    A contract was agreed between Waterways Trust and British Waterways to oversee the completion of the link and to maintain it. British Waterways to take over as contractors to The Waterways Trust.
  2. November 2000
    Contracts finalised between British Waterways and Gleesons to build the Link. Gleesons to start on site, taking further samples along the route and instructions given to their design team, Ove Arup, to complete the final design.
  3. November 2000 - January 2001
    Work with the Preston Planning Department, the Environment Agency, the Environment Forum and others to resolve any outstanding planning issues and secure necessary consents.
  4. Spring - Summer 2001
    Main construction phase is expected to start with the lock works and excavating the channel during the summer.
  5. Autumn 2001
    Completion and start of commissioning period of restricted use.
  6. Winter 2001 - Spring 2002
    Carry out planting work.
  7. Spring 2002
    Open to boating.

David Smith of North Lancashire and Cumbria IWA then presented Cliff Fazackerley with a cheque for £667 towards the cost of the footbridge at the Lancaster Canal towpath.

David Smith hands over the cheque.

Members present at the meeting were invited to ask any questions they might have. The answers are summarised below.

The locks will be 62ft long and 14ft 3ins wide except for the middle chamber of the three rise (lock 7) and possibly also the top chamber (lock 8) which will be 72' long to facilitate future upgrading the link. The decision on the size of the locks has not been taken lightly and continues to be subject to amendment if funds permit. The final decision will rest with the Waterways Trust.

The navigation will have an air draught of 8ft and a depth of at least 4ft, the latter governed by the depth of the cills on the Lancaster Canal.

Our guests answering questions from the floor.

The actual restriction at the pinch point between the Railway and Tom Benson Way bridges will depend on what is found when the contractors get on site.

Initially there will be single-way working on alternate days, a maximum of eight passages per day which will have to be pre-booked. This will be reviewed in the light of operating experience.

No decision has yet been reached on any charge being made for using the Link.

The Waterways Trust have agreed to take over the responsibility of the video showing the entire construction and completion of the project which leaves the Ribble Link Trust clear to arrange the Grand Opening Cruise in Spring 2002. Work will start on arranging this shortly and information about it will be added to the Forthcoming Events page as it becomes available.

Send questions and comments to RLT@aaug.net

Last Revised: Thu 14th November 2002

Copyright © 1999 by Cliff Fazackerley and the Ribble Link Trust Ltd.

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