The Coventry Canal at Polesworth is crossed by Polesworth Viaduct, spanning an entrance to the old colliery basin which provides attractive and tranquil moorings for about 12 canal boats including residential use, and also a base for holiday hire boats.
The basin and wharf have historic and industrial archaeological value as one of the last on the narrow canal system to be used for loading coal from the adjacent colliery. The former colliery site alongside the canal has been reclaimed as the Pooley Country Park and Heritage Centre and is now a well-used recreational facility.
Both the public facility of the country park and the private moorings will be severely damaged by HS2, with the line cutting through the country park on embankment and in cutting, destroying heritage buildings used for light industry and the visitor centre. Although a diversion of Pooley Lane and a new access road will now be provided to the remainder of the park and the scout hut, the direct physical damage and the constantly intrusive noise will severely limit future use and enjoyment of the country park facilities and could make the canal boat moorings uninhabitable for residential use.
The boat moorings include permanent residential moorings and, as is common, the others are often used residentially overnight, at weekends or for longer periods. The Operational Noise Contour map shows 2m high noise fencing only on the east side of the viaduct across the Coventry Canal, with the boat moorings subject to noise levels in the red zone (more than 65 dB daytime and more than 55 dB night-time) which is not acceptable.
A noise fence barrier should therefore also be provided on the west side of the viaduct and the adjacent Pooley Lane Embankment to reduce operational noise at the canal to below the equivalent “significant effect” level for residential properties.
There will also be major impacts on the Coventry Canal and the boat moorings during the construction phase, and an access must be maintained at all times to the moorings otherwise compensation will need to be paid for their temporary relocation. Temporary closures of the Coventry Canal and its towpath for construction of the viaduct should be programmed for the quieter winter ‘stoppage’ period. The Polesworth Viaduct Satellite Compound is close to the canal and should be screened to limit the noise nuisance to canal users.
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HS2 Phase 2B affects 16 inland waterways, both canals and river navigations, in at least 22 locations, including three canal restoration schemes.
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