A CHARITABLE trust has been set up to ensure the future of a South Lakeland landmark.

The Ulverston Canal Company has been created by land management firm NPL Estates as a vehicle for owners GlaxoSmithkline (GSK) to divest responsibility for the waterway.

It is hoped the trust will ensure the canal can be suitably looked after as a leisure facility for future generations.

Simon Towers, managing director of NPL, said: “We are setting up a ring-fenced trust that will guarentee the canal will be maintained.

"We feel this makes a very positive statement as we look to put the focus back on the canal as a community asset so it is a very exciting time.

“GSK are putting money into the trust fund for the future of the canal and we will manage the canal in its current form.”

A spokesman from GSK said the canal, which it has owned and managed for 35 years, no longer formed part of its business model.

“As part of a business review, ownership of the canal is not a key element of a successful future anti-biotics manufacturing site at Ulverston,” he said.

“However, GSK is com-mitted to ensuring the canal remains a valuable com-munity amenity in the future and therefore believes divesting the canal in this way is the best way of achieving this.”

The canal trust has received the backing of local town councillors and South Lake-land’s regeneration manager Jayne Kendall.

“This is very good news for the area,” she said. “It will ensure that the canal remains as a well managed and maintained asset for the community, while allowing GSK to concentrate on its core activity.”

The proposal for the canal trust was put to a meeting of Ulverston Town Council last week.

Ulverston Mayor, Norman Bishop-Rowe, said: “Fol-lowing an in-depth presentation and questions by members, Ulverston Town Council supports the proposal and welcomes the safeguarding of the canal for the future of the town.”