A SECTION of canal stretching from Ellesmere Port to Nantwich has been designated as a protected conservation zone.

The new Chester Canal Conservation Area, on the Shropshire Union Canal, is the result of a partnership between Chester Canal Heritage Trust, Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils.

Conservation areas are designated for their special architectural or historic character.

The area is a linear 28 mile canal corridor that starts on the boundary of the Ellesmere Port Docks and ends at Basin End in Nantwich.

The canal was originally used for industry and was constructed when the Chester Canal Act was passed in 1772.

It is unique for being one of the earliest broad beam canals, built to provide a link from the port of Chester to the salt towns of Cheshire.

Survey work was undertaken by volunteers from the Chester Canal Heritage Trust with the new conservation area expected to “support and regenerate local economies, tourism and culture”.

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing at CWaC, said: “This is a wonderful achievement for both the council and Chester Canal Heritage Trust following the national ‘50 Years of Conservation Areas’ celebration.

“This conservation area is the first ever designated by Cheshire West and Chester Council. It joins the council’s 96 other adopted conservation areas, which clearly demonstrates the rich diversity and quality of the Borough’s special character and history.

“The benefits of collaboration between the voluntary sector and the council have resulted in a shared pooling of specialist resources, common goals and objectives for this important stretch of canal.”

John Herson, from the Chester Canal Heritage Trust, added: “We are delighted that the Chester Canal Conservation Area has now been adopted by the council. It has been a long term goal and ambition.

“Our volunteers are delighted that the hard work undertaken to date has been recognised and we are proud that this conservation area is the first ever designated in Cheshire West and Chester. The designation is also supported by the Canal and River Trust.”

The designation of the Chester Canal Conservation Area is now part of a national group of important and diverse canal heritage sites such as the Trent and Mersey Canal conservation area, Macclesfield Canal, Regents Canal in London, Ponctysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site.