THERE are worries Worcester’s canals are being neglected because of a stalemate has broken out between the city council and British Waterways.

The state of the towpath, particularly in the Arboretum area, on the Worcester to Birmingham canal has deteroriated dramatically since the summer.

Worcester City Council said an informal agreement to help clear all towpaths of litter had not been renewed in September by British Waterways, which is responsible for the maintenance of the canals.

While concerns about the amount of litter have been raised, Kim Tanner said her active 96-year-old grandmother Kate, who lives in the Arboretum, has found it a struggle to walk along the canal paths to feed the ducks and swans because of enormous puddles on the paths.

“They take up most of the path and take such a long time to evaporate,” she said.

“Over the last couple of years it’s got a great deal worse because of the amount of rain we have had. It’s horrendous. I’m sick of it.”

Arboreturm councillor Joy Squires said: “What should be a really pleasant feature of this city is becoming increasingly difficult to use and quite nasty. It’s a huge source of frustration for all of us.”

Coun Squires said the city council was not in a position to take on the full responsibility for the canal’s maintenance because of its dire financial status.

But she said something needed to be done because the paths were so well used by cyclists and pedestrians.

“It could be ideal but it’s not,” said Coun Squires.

“You get messy, there’s litter, it’s unpleasant in places and to cyclists it’s dangerous in places. It really just deters people from using environmentally-friendly ways of getting around.”

A British Waterways spokeswoman said talks between the two parties are ongoing, and that one meeting has already taken place.

“We do want to carry on with the agreement, we have no objections to it in principle,” she said. “The last agreement just ran its course.

“There was no reason to think it would stop, but now it’s just a case of going through the process, trying to resolve it and iron out the finer details.”

The spokeswoman said there was no timetable for when the agreement should be finalised.

COMMENT: Our towpaths are needed - so fix them