I’ve heard a slightly different explanation from any given so far of why Swindon Borough Council wants to build a canal along its chosen route. The explanation came from one of the canal trust’s officers.
One of the features of Swindon’s traffic highlighted in the council’s Central Area Action Plan is the high proportion of traffic that passes through the town centre. The plan aims to reduce this, so that most of the traffic left is actually going to or from the town centre rather than just passing through. The aforementioned canal trust officer said the reason the council wants to build a canal down Faringdon Road and Fleet Street is as part of that traffic management scheme. So the potential traffic congestion that our recently elected councillor was complaining of in his election campaign would be intentional rather than an unwanted side-effect.
I’m not sure how good the canal trust officer’s information source is, but it’s certainly a slightly different slant on the possible benefits of a new canal.
Update, Tuesday, 13 May: To clarify, the canal trust officer’s view was that the main reason for building the canal down Faringdon Road was for it’s traffic management effects rather than because, as the council have said, that would be the best place in terms of its civic amenity and tourist attraction value.