LCT Logo  The Selly Oak Regeneration and the Lapal Restoration 

April 4th :
Sainsbury's with Land Securities have submitted to BCC, a Plan which excludes a properly watered Lapal Canal, having replaced it with a green walkway around the edge of their site. The Trust and CP4SO is urging all supporters to help us contst this, please.
April 6th, 2013 : High Priority !
The Lapal Canal Trust will host a multi-group Working Party in Harborne Wharf to make it as "canoe-ready" as possible, as compelling evidence that, in any future Plans and developments for the regeneration of Selly Oak, it must NOT be ignored.
Please meet at the 1st Ariel 113 Birmingham Scout Group HQ off Gibbins Road, from about 0900 onwards; wearing solid shoes and gardening clothes with gloves.
Refreshments will be available.

March 2013

The Trust is now urging all friends and supports of (this) canal restoration to visit the  community web site and register your reaction and support, please.   CP4SO 

The Lapal Canal Trust now understands that the Sainsburys partnership for Selly Oak is poised to submit to Birmingham City Council, yet another Plan for the regeneration of the Battery Park site.  But it is by no means clear that this latest plan will make adequate provision for the long-anticipated Lapal Canal.

Further information is being provided by the Community Partnership for Selly Oak - CP4SO  - where an alternative outline plan from the community can be found (under “our vision”) and you may 'register' your view.

January 2013: A community Blog site has been launched here to aid the campaign.

December 2012:
The Harvest partnership has substantially revised its Plans for Selly Oak by replacing a third of the previously-proposed retail premises with a Life Sciences campus on the QEH side of the site. To achieve this they have repositioned the new Sainsbury's foodstore and provisionally reassigned the site's southern  boundary as a Greenway corridor which could become the Lapal Canal. If implemented this could be a full-width structure, without crossing bridges and movement restrictions, but the details here. remain unclear and subject to further enquiry.

Christmas 2012: The Trust has submitted to BCC Planning and the Harvest Partnership the following statement:

    The Lapal Canal Trust is extremely disappointed that the Plans submitted (as 2012/01565/PA) do not appear to embody an unequivocal provision for, and continuing commitment to the previously promised Lapal Canal link across the Battery Park site.   It is also confusing, for the many supporters of a canal link, that the consultation leaflet shows no indication of the canal route across the site.  We now understand that two schemes are being considered; "Option 1" with a greenway along the southern boundary of the site or else "Option 2"  which includes a predominantly full-width canal channel along that southern boundary.

We believe that the unique opportunity for an imaginative and sympathetic regeneration of this site around the junction of two historically significant canals, is being lost in this rearrangement of the site compared with the recently previous submission.  In particular, the scheme does not integrate well with the canal and does little to enhance the Worcester & Birmingham canal frontage.

However, of the two options presented, we prefer "Option 2" subject to the resolution of engineering issues, particularly around the junction with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and confirmation from the Canal & River Trust that approval will be forthcoming for the junction to be made.

It remains our expectation that the Plans that will eventually receive permission for the regeneration of this portion of Selly Oak, must be those which will deliver a Lapal Canal link “westwards” into future regeneration projects in Selly Oak Park and the communities beyond. 

The Lapal Canal Trust will be submitting its more detailed comments when the Outline Planning Application and full details of the scheme become available for consultation.  However, the Trust remains committed towards a viable implementation and would welcome further cooperation with the Developers.

Older News

Latest Working Party: Saturday October 13, 2012 meet 113 Scouts HQ, 10.00

February 2012 : The Trust is delighted to report that the Harvest partnership, between Sainsbury's and Land Securities, has submitted to Birmingham City Council Planning Committee, a substantially revised Plan for the Regeneration of Selly Oak which now includes their Battery Park contribution to the Lapal Canal restoration project.    Their website here gives outline details.

LCT Observations :

The Lapal Canal Trust broadly welcomes and supports the February 2012 outline submission, from the Harvest partnership to BCC Planning, as a means to launch the entire Lapal restoration with a navigable channel between the existing W&B Canal and the recently rebuilt Harborne Lane Bridge. However, boaters and canal enthusiasts should be aware that the illustrations on the Harvest web site (linked above) and also on the Submission, including the ground plan, are merely "architect's impressions" without exact or excessive detail at this stage.

In particular, the proposed Lapal Canal is intended to be just a single-vessel clearance-width, straight alignment channel from the W&B canal across about two-thirds of the site when it will broaden into a wider channel, with temporary mooring, before ‘connecting’ with the Harborne Lane Bridge. It is proposed to include 5 simple opening bridges, such that pedestrian access across the narrow channel is upheld at all times, for the site to function properly as an integrated retail plaza. This is a significant compromise away from the Canal’s former alignment and usage with its Brewin stop-lock and wide kidney-shaped basin serving the former Birmingham Battery and Metal Company from which the site takes its name.

The Harvest partnership has been pleased to include this provision in its revised Plans following significant discussions with the Lapal Canal Trust, its consultant from Atkins and representatives from BW. This all stemmed from Harvest’s September 2011 proposed Plan which made no such provision and earned them a considerable reaction in the public feedback. So now, in their revised plan, Harvest intends to provide this means for narrow boats, of any length and draft, to pass from the W&B to the boundary of Selly Oak Park and then onto the Harborne Wharf as the ‘entrance’ section of the canal into Selly Oak Park (and eventually, beyond).

The Lapal Canal Trust, through its most recent working parties and its consultant Planning adviser, is currently striving towards restoration of that former wharf so that boats (of 60ft or less) can enter and wind (turn) there and return through the site to the W&B. After that, the longer-term Lapal Plan for Selly Oak Park includes a full winding hole at the west end of the entire canal section which flanks the Park’s northern perimeter.

The operating success of the proposed Battery Park channel across the Sainsbury’s site, will depend on the simplicity of the 5 bridges. Given that the gap they will span is only about 3 metres (8 ft), they can be simple structures perhaps requiring no more than a BW-key and windlass to release and operate them. A design has not yet been agreed, approved and finalised, so Harvest and the Trust remain keen to hear about bridges elsewhere that might be suitable models to copy. To remain consistent with this most modern of sites, the design may exploit modern materials and mechanisms, where appropriate.
The Trust’s Directors are aware that the proposal is not ideal, from some boater’s perspective, but believe that it will be a workable compromise which balances the Harvest requirements within the Trust’s overall strategy for the restoration of the Lapal Canal and its potential to stimulate further regeneration west-wards to Weoley Castle.

Therefore, the Lapal Canal Trust invites its members together with fellow boaters and canal enthusists generally, to support this submission.

(If previously  (last September) you made contact to register your concern, you might now like to make contact again to register your support?)  Click here

Wednesday 7 March 2012 :
After the December 2011 and January 2012 joint working parties, which included members of IWA, BCNS, CCT and LCT, a small-scale party, working with a hired digger, re-surfaced the Castle Walkway along the old Harborne Wharf with the unashamed intention of persuading Planners and observers that it should be a canal in water again !

If you wish to contact the Trust about any of the above, please email; editor <at>