THE “forgotten backwater” of the Grand Union Canal in Hayes could soon be opened up to residents, thanks to persistent lobbying by a keen boater.

David Brough, the chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership, has set up a meeting with British Waterways to discuss the possibly of introducing residential moorings along the canal.

Mr Brough, keen boater, and former head of democratic services at Hillingdon Council, has been working closely with John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington.

Provisional plans have been drawn up, which will be looked at in-depth at the meeting later this month.

Mr Brough, said: “The canal through Hayes is a totally forgotten backwater.

“It is hardly seen from the Station Road bridge in the centre of the town and those who pass through on boats often do not realise that Hayes is there at all.

“As a boater myself I have seen excellent examples in Birmingham. Huddersfield and other places where the opening up of the canal has greatly helped regeneration and brought people and activity to the town centres to benefit everybody.”

Mr Brough said their meeting with British Waterways, the body responsible for canals, will be an opportunity to talk about long and short term proposals.

Mr McDonnell told the Hillingdon Times: “It has taken a lot of effort lobbying both British Waterways and the council to take up this idea but I am now hopeful that we will see barges moored along the canal.

“This will introduce a lively and interesting attraction in our town centre.

“Not only will this help improve the canal area, it will also provide additional alternative accommodation for local people who would like living on the canal.”

He added: “The canal in Hayes is an undiscovered jewel which could be such an asset to our town.”