Barton Aqueduct Consultation

16 March 2021

Barton Aqueduct Consultation

The Bridgewater Canal Company Ltd, part of Peel L&P is in the process of preparing a planning application which seeks permission to reinstate the tow path along the Barton Swing Aqueduct, reconnecting the Bridgewater Way.  The project focuses on improving pedestrian and cycling connectivity, providing a safe access of over the Manchester Ship Canal and connecting the final phase of the Bridgewater Way. 


There have been ambitions to deliver improvements to Barton Aqueduct for a number of years with discussions first taking place with the two Councils (Trafford and Salford) in 2016.  Since these discussions, the proposals have evolved, with a focus on improving pedestrian and cycle connections (off road). 

Funding has successfully been secured from the Mayors Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund. As a result, we are now in a position to bring forward the necessary applications.

The site

The site straddles the boundary of Trafford and Salford, which is defined by the Manchester Ship Canal. The northern part of the site is included within Salford, the southern part within Trafford. 

The site comprises four main parts:

  1. The Boat Yard which lies on the northern edge of the site and is a functioning and important part of the canal.
  2. Barton Lane Aqueduct and the Swing Aqueduct are used to cross the Manchester Ship Canal and Barton Lane respectively.
  3. Upper Pocket Park which as the name suggests is the higher level park which at present is not publicly accessible.
  4. Chapel Place is at the southern end of the site and single track lane which provides pedestrian and cycle access to the Bridgewater Way.

The site is included in the Barton upon Irwell Conservation Area and comprises the following heritage assets:

  • Barton Lane Road Bridge (Grade II* listed)
  • Barton Swing Aqueduct (Grade II* listed)
  • Barton Lane Aqueduct Portal (Grade II listed)
  • Site of Former Barton Aqueduct (recently designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument)

The Proposals

At present, to travel across the Manchester Ship Canal and Barton Lane pedestrians and cyclists are required to leave the Bridgewater Way and make their way along Barton Road, which is a vehicle dominated environment. What the proposals seek to do is provide an alternative, pedestrian and cycle friendly route over the Manchester Ship Canal and Barton Lane, reconnecting the Bridgewater Way.

Visualisation of the proposed scheme

Given the historic context of the site, careful consideration has been given to the design and appearance of the proposals. This is to ensure that the proposed structures do not detract from the historic interest of the heritage assets. It was considered appropriate for the proposed structures to appear industrial looking so as to reflect the former nature of the Swing Aqueduct and the Manchester Ship Canal.

Safe access to the structures is of the upmost importance as is a route that is accessible. The proposals have been designed to provide a Disability Discrimination Act [DDA] compliant route. The design also ensures that users will feel and be safe when travelling along the route, for example including discreet lighting within the balustrades and ensuring the route with appropriate landscaping.

Key features of the proposals include the:

  1. Provision of a DDA compliant route which reconnects the Bridgewater Way;
  2. Removal of the two derelict cottages and metal gazebo structure at Chapel Place;
  3. Provision of a new ramp at Chapel Place to provide access to the Aqueduct;
  4. Reinstatement of the cantilever walkway along the Aqueduct;
  5. Retention of the viewing platform at the south of the Aqueduct;
  6. Provision of a new ramp at Upper Pocket Park to provide access to the Aqueduct;
  7. Provision/Reinstatement of a new path through Upper Pocket Park, including landscaping works; 
  8. Provision of a new bridge over Barton Lane; 
  9. Reconnecting the route through the Boat Yard to Bridgewater Way; and,
  10. The provision of sensitive lighting and information boards.

How to get involved

We are in the process of preparing a planning application and would be grateful for your feedback on the proposals before we lodge the applications.

To assist us in preparing the final plans for the proposals, it would be helpful if you could please fill out our survey available here.

  1. Do you currently use the Bridgewater Canal?
  2. If so, why do you use the Bridgewater Canal, and how do you currently access it?
  3. If not, what are the barriers that prevent you from using it?
  4. Would you use the proposed scheme, or what would you need to enable you to use it? 
  5. What do you like/dislike about the proposals?

Project Timescales

The team is proposing to submit a full planning application to both Salford and Trafford at the end of March 2021. 

Once the application has been submitted there will be the opportunity to formally submit comments to the Council as part of their consultation process. To ensure that your comments are appropriately considered by the Council as part of their consideration on the application, it is important that you submit comments as part of the consultation. The Council’s consultation period on the application will commence 21 days following the validation of the application.

Updates on the project will be posted on the website.

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