Charlie Pope canal death prompts footbridge safety plan

Charlie Pope Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Charlie Pope was last seen in the early hours of 3 March on Whitworth Street

The father of a student who fell into a canal has welcomed fencing plans for a stretch of canal near where he died.

The Canal and River Trust is seeking listed building consent to erect the barrier near Lock 89 in Manchester where Charlie Pope, 19, died in March.

"If it stops other people dying then something good has come out of this tragedy," said his father Nick, from Ponteland, Northumberland.

The fence will direct people to cross the canal using an existing footbridge.

The application also includes a memorial to the student whose body was found in the canal close to the Rain Bar on Whitworth Street West on 3 March.

"I had been told this could be happening but there is a difference between hearing that and knowing an application has been made - it's wonderful. It is fantastic news," " said Mr Pope.

He added: "A memorial is just the icing on the cake."

Image caption His father Nick Pope said the barriers could bring some good out of his son's tragedy

"Nothing can bring my son back, but if it stops other people dying then something good can come out of this tragedy."

Mr Pope joined with other campaigners, including nearby resident Alona Ainsworth who initiated a petition, in a demonstration in May calling for barriers.

The trust's application said a Manchester Safety Partnership review after the death had found that a large number of people used the head lock gates as a crossing point of the lock between Whitworth Street West and Great Bridgewater Street.

It said the partnership had decided that people should be discouraged from using the lock gates as a crossing point and "acknowledged that a physical barrier would be required to achieve this".

The fencing will replace temporary barriers that have been installed since Mr Pope's death.

Image caption Temporary barriers have been installed since Charlie Pope died
Image copyright The Canal and River Trust
Image caption The fencing will direct people to use a footbridge

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