Sowerby Bridge Wharf, West Yorkshire

We enabled the community to realise their vision of a revitalised Wharf centred around a working boatyard.

In 1997 we were approached by local residents living near Sowerby Bridge about their wonderful but terribly derelict 18th and 19th century canal buildings. The buildings sit at the head of the Calder and Hebble Navigation canal and the adjoining Rochdale Canal. 

We worked with the community to develop a strategy to regenerate the Wharf based on the refurbishment of the two warehouses that sit in the heart of their local area.

With a total of £3.8m secured investment, we transformed these buildings into a mixed-use space with offices, workshops, a canal boat wet dock and a restaurant. The development work led to massive private sector investment in the surrounding vacant heritage buildings. The wharf now provides 270 jobs and is a popular tourist destination.

Since the project there has also been regeneration in the local area with shops, restaurants and attractive housing. The local authority estimates there has been a further £28m of investment since the restoration of the Wharf. Unemployment sat at 10% before the regeneration work, and afterwards it fell to 5.9% (despite the recession), demonstrating the much wider economic impact of heritage-led regeneration.

The work at Sowerby Bridge shows the potential of working in close partnership with local residents who want to reclaim their heritage and make it a community asset once again.

Thining of visiting? See the Canal and River Trust's handy guide.

The Canal and River Trust's Guide to Sowerby Bridge