BOROUGH MP Andrew Miller has called for “joined- up” work by different Government departments to safeguard the future of Ellesmere Port’s boat museum.
He spoke out during a debate on the UK’s inland waterways at the House of Commons.
Mr Miller said: “I want to bring the House's attention to Ellesmere Port.
“The recovery of the town was centred on the work undertaken in creating what is now a National Waterways Museum.
“If that work had not been carried out, the recovery of the town, including the development of the fantastic retail complex around Cheshire Oaks that brought in seven million day visitors last year, simply would not have happened.”
He told Parliament that the Waterways Trust, which runs the Port facility and others across the UK, is “struggling to maintain” its important museum network.
Mr Miller added: “Their museums are centres of national collections that have been described by experts as being important in their locations.
“They are part of our national heritage.
“The work being undertaken by the Waterways Trust and the huge network of volunteers have made a fundamental difference to the community that I represent.”
Mr Miller praised the enormous Peel Holdings regeneration scheme for Ellesmere Port’s docklands, which could see thousands of new homes and businesses and even skyscrapers, being built on the waterfront and the docks moved up to Eastham.
He said: “It is now one of the approved areas where the Government are allowing the expansion of housing on a waterfront. It is an enormously exciting opportunity.
“However, what is missing from that development is the lack of joined-up thinking between Government departments.
“The issues that we are talking about today spill over from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the area of education, involving a range of Government departments and indeed the private sector too.
“As part of the recovery of our economy, we need to look at some of the things that have happened to parts of the waterways network in the past few years and learn lessons.
“Yes, the waterways can be used as levers for recovery, but they are not just that; they can also be levers to encourage new and exciting tourism opportunities and social opportunities for our own communities on the canal network, utilising the canals in a way that simply has not been envisaged before.”
“This is a huge opportunity and the Government would miss it at their peril.”