The Friends of Cromford Canal hope a long-held ambition to extend the waterway is picking up steam after submitting a planning application.
The organisation will require consent from both Broxtowe and Amber Valley Borough Councils to extend the canal north from its existing terminus at Langley Mill basin.
Named after a historic loading wharf on the site, the Beggarlee Extension will involve construction of a new one kilometre canal channel, a pair of locks, and renovation of a disused bridge to pass underneath the A610, on land south of Stoney Lane, Brinsley.
Friends member John Boucher, a retired engineer from Jacksdale who has led the planning process, said: “As a charity, we were set up to restore the canal all the way to Cromford, where we already boat trips operating.
“It’s a very long-term project, but this is one of the most important parts because it means establishing a new route now the A610 runs where the canal was.”
If planning permission is approved, the group can call on a team of volunteers from the national Waterways Recovery Group to immediately begin expanding the basin.
Once the work picks up speed, it will open up possible funding streams to carry out some of the more costly engineering works.
Eventually, the project would also fill a missing footpath link to allow walkers to continue on the Erewash Valley trail to the nature reserves north of the site without a road diversion.
John said: “The biggest challenge will be keeping up volunteer interest, and being sensitive to the environment.”
It will be the first substantial restoration carried out by the Friends since 2002.
The organisation took over the planning two years ago, after proposals to reopen the canal for an open-cast coal mine in Langley Mill were abandoned.
Restoration of Langley Bridge Lock and the boatyard was previously carried out by the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association, who are supporting the extension project along with Derbyshire County Council.
The Friends are inviting local residents and civic leaders to view the plans and ask questions at a drop-in event on Saturday, April 13, 11am to 3pm, at the New Horizon Church in Langley Mill.