An artist's impression of the new canal tunnel

A bid to raise £1million to build a canal tunnel under the cross city railway line has raised £400,000 less than a year after its official launch.

An artist’s impression of the new canal tunnel

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s David Suchet Tunnel Vision appeal was formally launched in January by the actor, who is also vice president of the trust.

The news of the £400,000 milestone comes after the Department for Transport agreed to allocate £5m towards the £17.3million cost of the final phase of the Lichfield Southern bypass linking Birmingham Road with London Road.

With a date now set for that work to begin, the trust now needs to ensure it raises the remaining £600,000 over the next three years.

Trust chairperson Christine Bull said: “We are pleased to have this confirmation that the bypass tunnel will go ahead as it means ours will too.

“The 2020 completion date means we know how long we’ve got to raise the money for the project and we are confident we will do so.”

The trust’s engineering director Peter Buck said the route would be used by more than just waterways traffic.

“This tunnel will not only create a canal link but will also be a vital link for the community,” he said. “There are some proposed housing developments on both sides and this will be the safe link for getting underneath the railway.”

For more details on the £1million appeal visit the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust website.