Plans for canal crusies from Waterside basin to boost tourism

An artist's impression of Aylesbury canal basin as part of the Waterside development
An artist's impression of Aylesbury canal basin as part of the Waterside development

Aylesbury’s canal could host a pleasure boat in the coming years to provide tourists with a new way of seeing the town.

As part of the Waterside development the Canal & River Trust is considering introducing a tourist boat in 2015 to tempt more people to Aylesbury and provide further economic benefits.

South east senior waterways manager Jeff Whyatt said: “We are interested but we are in no rush to do anything.

“We want to make the water space work for this development rather than it just being a back drop.

“It may be small and compact but it can have a huge economic benefit. The experience in Aylesbury will hopefully be more people meandering down to that part of town.”

Mr Whyatt said that the development had a high value with the Waterside Theatre already there and Waitrose (August 8) and Travelodge (winter) on the way.

He added: “It’s already a high quality development because they are around water space.

“It’s a jewel in Aylesbury’s crown and I think there’s many town centres who would love to have that. It’s a completely different experience.”

Mr Whyatt said the trust would put the tourism boat idea out to tender and that it would begin for a trial period.

It’s likely the boat would offer short 20- to 25-minute journeys down the canal with it turning round at the new basin at Circus Fields.

The boat would only be used in Aylesbury following the development of education facility, the Aylesbury Centre, should that go ahead.

There is a possibility that if a cruise barge proved successful and there was enough interest a boat with an onboard restaurant could also eventually be introduced.

For now the focus of the trust and district council is on making the canal a greater part of the town with plans to introduce better access routes to it, new mooring posts and reinforcing the sides.