International investors witness Middlewood Locks canal rebirth through waterways challenge

May 10, 2024

A challenge to visit one of the UK’s disused waterways played host to a group of international visitors at our Middlewood Locks development in Salford as access was re-opened for the first time in 15 years.

As canal boat ‘Bersara’ (meaning ‘retirement’ in Malaysia) made its maiden voyage from the river Irwell through Lock one of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, its crew received a VIP welcome on entering Lock three which sits in the heart of our £1bn Middlewood Locks urban regeneration neighbourhood.

The voyage by boat man Ian West was part of the Inland Waterways Association’s coveted ‘Silver Propeller Challenge’ to visit as many underused waterways as possible in any type of vessel.

Access to Middlewood Locks was possible thanks to the efforts of the Canal & River Trust and Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society that have worked over many years to re-open parts of the canal for leisure use.

Middlewood Locks developer Scarborough Group International (SGI), was hosting special guests from Singapore-listed property development and investment group, Metro Holdings which is a joint venture partner in the scheme.  Whilst viewing the latest construction phase of ‘Railings’ luxury apartments, they were able to witness the potential of an active waterways passage through the now thriving neighbourhood.

Nicola Wallis, Group Sales & Marketing Director at Scarborough Group, said:

“It was so exciting for us to see Bersara make her maiden voyage through Middlewood Locks, bringing to life our ambition to make the waterways integral to living here.


“The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal provides important peace and tranquillity for our residents and visitors and is a vital green corridor supporting biodiversity. The waterway provides sustainable connectivity and the reopening of parts of the canal really resonates with the important values of our investment partners. It’s great to welcome canal boats back to Middlewood Locks and to see this part of the canal thrive once again.”

Mr Yip Hoong Mun, Group Chief Executive Officer, of Metro Holdings Limited said: 

“It was fantastic to visit Middlewood Locks to see the progress of our long-term investment with our trusted partner, Scarborough Group International.   Not only was it great to see inside Railings, which is our third phase of new apartments and amenity space at Middlewood Locks, but to witness the canal ways open and accessible was a wonderful surprise.”

The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal was made famous in the song ‘Dirty Old Town’, written by Salford born folk singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl and performed by The Dubliners and The Pogues. Hollywood legend James Mason starred in the film ‘Spring and Port Wine’, based on a play by Bolton’s own Bill Naughton, filmed at various locations along the canal.

Built in 1791 to transport goods as part of the industrial revolution, the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal lay derelict for many years following the demise of industrialisation, until 1987 when volunteers came together to establish the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society.

The Canal originally ran north from Salford, on the River Irwell near Manchester, to Prestolee, near the village of Little Lever. Here it split into two: the main line continued to Bury, while a branch headed north-west to Bolton. The canal is now under active restoration.

A free canal-side neighbourhood festival is to take place on Saturday 18th May at Middlewood Locks in Salford to celebrate the re-opening of parts of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal for the first time in 15 years.

‘Middlewood Locks Fest’ promises an action-packed fun day for all the family, including boats, music, art workshops, a makers’ market, heritage activities, contemporary performances, water-based activities, live entertainment and local street food vendors.

Further details for Middlewood Locks Fest can be found at Middlewood Locks – (

Further details for a unique soundwalk experience also running through Middlewood Locks can be found at  Hidden Canal | Walk the Plank

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