CRT to sell Claverton engineman’s cottage despite campaign to save it

A group of volunteers who run the Claverton Pumping Station recently started a campaign to prevent CRT from selling the engineman’s cottage on the site due to the risk that the heritage building would be altered beyond recognition or even demolished. However despite an online petition with 599 signatures, the volunteers reluctantly announced that their campaign was at an end. This is the joint statement today (21st May 2018) from CRT, the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, and the Claverton Volunteers:

“Mark Evans, waterway manager for the Kennet & Avon Canal, and Stuart Mills, Chief Investment Officer for CRT, recently meet with volunteers from the Claverton Pumping Station to discuss the Canal & River Trust’s decision to sell off the engineman’s cottage and to discuss improvements which could be made to the pumping station to enhance facilities for all who use and enjoy the site.

The Claverton engineman’s cottage

As the result of the meeting both parties have agreed that selling the cottage is the best option if other improvements to the site can be progressed and funded by the Trust. The Canal & River Trust recognise the commitment and dedication the volunteers have made in helping to restore the pumping station and, in order the improve access for visitors, we have agreed to take forward the development of a car park area, subject to planning permission and detailed design, on the land that was donated to the pumping station for this purpose.

Mark Evans, said: “I would like to thank the volunteers at Claverton for the fantastic work they do and have done in helping to restore and care for the pumping station. Every one of the volunteers are really enthusiastic and they should be proud of what they have achieved.

“I’m glad we’ve managed to resolve our differences around the sale of the engineman’s cottage and have come up with a solution that we are all happy with. The last thing we want is to fall out with anyone over this sale so I’m pleased that we’ve agreed a way forward to improve the visitor experience to the pumping station.”

The campaign to save the cottage was started by volunteer Julian Stirling, who said in the petition that “From 1813 until 1953 each of the four engine keepers lived in this cottage while they maintained the pumping station … Canal and River Trust will not allow the volunteers who expertly restored the pumping station to now restore the semi-derelict cottage … Unlike the pumping station, the cottage is not a listed building and could easily be torn down by its new owner … As the only canal pump in the country where the living quarters still stand it is truly a unique and important heritage site”.

The petition is online here

See also

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