An important date in the calendar of the Park—24th December 2015—will shortly arrive. It’s the day when Herts County Council’s lease of the reservoir and its dam expires. On grounds of cost, it will not be renewed. What then will happen to the reservoir? Hopefully on Christmas Day it will still be there for walkers and wildlife to enjoy, sailors to sail, painters to paint and fishermen to fish….

But behind the scenes, the owners of the water, Safari Investments Ltd. have been scheming with Liberty Aldenham Ltd. to develop 160 houses on an associated piece of land just south of Elstree Road. Using some of the considerable profits from sale of these dwellings, funding would be made available to repair the reservoir dam, originally built around 1795.

No-one knows the exact composition of the dam, but the cost of the works has been put at £2—£3.5 million. The spillway and draw-off are also inappropriate and in poor condition and further costly work will be needed to ensure they meet modern safety standards. Big money! Under the scheme, ownership of the reservoir/dam would be transferred to Liberty Aldenham and, subject to planning, a Trust would be set-up and funded to undertake the works on the dam. The Trust board would have at least 5 members from the current owner’s family.

After discussion with the Council, Liberty Aldenham published Newsletters, hosted consultations, and gained support from some local groups. It was only in the 3rd newsletter, that it was revealed that the funding for the dam relied on developing green belt land. Nonetheless, an outline planning application was made, and after due consideration, the Society objected. In early October, faced with planning officers’ recommendations for refusal, the application
was withdrawn just before the Planning Committee meeting.

Watch this space…GT