C&RT boss won't reverse unjust removal of Northern Reaches adoption

March 2018 - Canal & River Trust's interim waterways manager for the North West, Steve Higham, is adamantly refusing to reinstate the Owd Lanky Boater's adoption of the Tewitfield lock flight – despite admitting that he can't justify the ending of the agreement by his predecessor Chantelle Seaborn just before her departure from the Trust.

Steve Higham agreed to speak to The Floater's Peter Underwood and the interview was recorded in a busy bar at Liverpool Marina.

He began by introducing a claim that Owd Lanky's Colin Ogden, who has been the most succesful advocate and restorer of the Lancaster Canal's Northern Reaches had failed to report an accident in which a volunteer's ankle was trapped – the first time any such allegation had been made in this context.

When challenged he swiftly moved off the topic, and a telephone call to Colin Ogden later revealed that the incident didn't occur on C&RT land, there was no serious injury and a C&RT official was made aware of it. Colin said: “My wife had been admitted to hospital at the time, but I knew C&RT were aware of it from others and the person concerned assured me he was OK and not to worry.” Steve Higham also claimed Mountain Rescue teams were called in but, in reality the injured man called on his friends in Mountain Rescue who took him to his car and his wife took him for a check up.

Steve Higham went on, during the interview to admit that he didn't really understand why Chantelle Seaborn cancelled the adoption but stubbornly refused to change his decision to support her actions.

The Floater is taking the unusual step of making the whole interview, with just two minor edits to remove extraneous material, available to Floater readers.

Listen to it for yourself (you can play it in the player below, or download the file for listening-to later). The recording is in mp3 format (about 60Mb) and it runs for about 40 minutes.

Photos: (1st) Colin's volunteers working with C&RT on the Tewitfield locks before the ban, (2nd) Chantelle Seaborn, (3rd) The official adoption sign - now removed, (4th) Colin Ogden, (5th) Steve Higham - interim waterways manager in the NW for C&RT.

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