A DERELICT barge lock on the Bow Back Rivers will be restored with £500,000 to carry traffic again in time for the Olympics.

"Hidden gem" the City Mill Lock, off Stratford High Street, was built as part of a 1930s flood defence programme and created a navigable link between Waterworks River and City Mill River, off Marshgate Lane.

British Waterways and Bellway Homes have earmarked £300,000 to buy new lock gates and are looking for another £200,000 to repair the hydraulic gearing mechanism.

Staff are keen to see the lock and waterways working again to carry construction material for new homes alongside the back rivers and leisure traffic into the heart of Stratford's potential 2012 Olympic zone.

Ian Jeffrey, land director for Bellway Homes Essex, said: "City Mill Lock is one of Stratford's hidden gems. We believe our new development, The Lock, will help to bring this historic structure back to life.

"On top of the £150,000 contribution we are making to the lock gates we are also investing a significant amount into improvements to the lockside setting of the new apartments so that more people can discover and enjoy this wonderful spot."

The new lock gates are being built by Mandall Engineering in Sheffield and are due to be installed in August.

Mark Stephens, British Waterways' regeneration engineer, added: "The Bow Back Rivers lie at the heart of London's planned Olympic zone and we believe they will play a major part in the regeneration of this part of London.

"These rivers were constructed to accommodate barge traffic to service local industry and we are keen to see them working again to transport construction materials as well as leisure traffic into the heart of this major regeneration area.

"Replacing the gates on City Mill Lock brings us one step closer to achieving this vision."

The lock is Bellway's new development of one and two-bed apartments offering easy access to central London.