Stroud Valleys Canal Company (SVCC) was formed in 2009 by four principle partners. These are Cotswold Canals Trust, Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council and the Company of the Proprietors of the Stoudwater Navigation. These partners each have a nominated Director and are joined with currently five independent Directors.
SVCC owns or leases the Cotswold Canal from Whitminster Lock in the West through to just past Bourne Lock, Brimscombe in the East. The company is a not-for-profit organisation and registered Charity. Apart from a part time Company Secretary, SVCC has no paid employees and relies heavily on the excellent work carried out on its behalf by volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) and Stroud District Council (SDC).
SVCC is the navigation authority on the Stroudwater section of the canal and has prime responsibility for managing and maintaining the canal once the canal has been restored. Currently this effectively means from Pike Lock, Eastington to Hope Mill in the East. The company is also heavily involved with Brimscombe Port and is currently the freeholder of the Port and Estate. Several properties are also owned and leased by SVCC as well as looking after surface water discharge, fishing and other licenses.
The principle partners of SVCC are the mainstays of the management programme by providing volunteer and professional resources, funds and support in-kind, in addition to their individual roles in canal restoration.
The origins of the Cotswold Canals Trust ( CCT), date back to 1972 when it was the Stroudwater Canal Society. By 1975, the trust was a registered charity and incorporated for the purpose of preserving, maintaining and improving the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal (i.e. the Cotswold Canals).
Recently, the Trust’s charitable objects have broadened to include promoting the use of the canals; educating the public about the history of the canals; enabling recreational and leisure time activities on or along the canals for all and; enhancing the natural features and wildlife habitats of the canals’ corridor.
Stroud District Council ( SDC) has invested significantly in canal restoration over many years, including appointment of a Canal Project Manager, and establishing their offices in the Industrial Heritage Conservation Area (ICHA) of Ebley Mills along the once infilled section of the Stroudwater Navigation.
CCT and SDC are the lead providers of the dedicated volunteer teams that are required to maintain and restore the Cotswold Canals. The many and varied tasks include towpath management, refurbishing vessels, dredging, providing boat trips at both western and eastern ends, heritage lock restorations, water management (bypasses and weirs) and engaging the public (e.g. CCT Visitor Centres).
The Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation ( CoPSN) is believed to be the oldest surviving canal company in the world. The Company ex-Headquarters building (c.1780) still survives in Stroud near Wallbridge lower lock. More information of the history of the canal can be found from the Stroudwater Navigation Archive Charity ( SNAC).
Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) supports the aims of SVCC by the maintenance of bridges, highways and footpaths that GCC owns.