Council decides to leave lake intact

THE saga of the site known as the ‘leaky lake’ could soon be over.

The issue over the second phase of the Community Park restoration works at Pegswood Moor has been going on for more than half-a-decade after a lake created ten years ago failed to fill up and was considered a danger.

Banks Group put forward a number of proposals over the years and last month it agreed to narrow them down to two schemes.

Option one would leave the current lake as it is and workers would carry out planting and fencing to tidy up the area and footpath improvements. Option two would involve using infill material to create a scheme that would form a smaller lake, but also include extensive woodland planting and a managed species rich meadow.

The latter choice would take about five years and it would aim to transport 200,000 tonnes of soil and rock to the site per year. There would also be a community benefit fund.

At a meeting on Monday evening, Pegswood Parish Council decided to support option one in principle. This means that the works could be complete as early as spring next year.

Coun David Woodard said: “I think that the site as it is at the moment, once it has had a few finishing touches, will be a beautiful place where people can go and enjoy their surroundings.

“I don’t think people want hundreds of lorries bringing soil and rock to the site and option one does not need any further planning permission, whereas option two would need a planning application and we would have no control over the details.”

Under Banks’ plans for option one, the lake would be about 150ft deep, seating would be installed on the west bank by the lake and there would be fencing and planting of certain types of vegetation around the steeper and more dangerous east shore to prevent people from reaching the lake in that section.

Coun Julie Stephenson said it was important to be clear in her mind about whether it was meant to be a wildlife haven or an amenity for residents and visitors because she believes the steepness of the west bank will put some people off going to the area.

Coun Woodard said the site was not particularly intended to be for play, adding “it’s a place to be quietly enjoyed in the open countryside”.

Chairman of the council, Peter Stonell, said he was content with option one having heard that Pegswood Moor was designated as a wildlife park. In addition, he thinks option two would not be that much different to option one and so it would not be worth the years of disruption.

But Coun Linda Doherty said she believes there is a big enough difference between the two choices and wondered if it was possible to go back to Banks and ask if it could do a ‘half-way house solution’.

She added: “The community fund would provide a lot of money and we should take it into consideration.

“This is not necessarily my personal view, but we represent Pegswood residents and I believe it’s important to debate all the pros and cons before we make a decision.”

However, after further discussion, members agreed to choose option one.