Rain delays start of park drainage project

Centre Vale Park, Todmorden
Centre Vale Park, Todmorden

Persistent wet weather - and the forecast of more on the way - has forced the Environment Agency to delay the start of drainage work in Centre Vale Park until Spring.

Contractors were due to begin the extensive project earlier this week, but continuous rain means there is a risk of further damaging the park if the work was to go ahead.

Andrew Coen, Environment Agency (EA) project manager, said: “The weather last weekend was pretty bad.

“Over the next ten days, the forecast is for ten to 15 hours of rain each day.

“We have taken the decision to postpone the work as we feel that, with the weather forecast as bad as it is, it would make the drainage work impossible to do without damaging the surface of the park and perhaps causing more damage to the drainage structure that we are trying to repair.

“On the balance of things, it’s best to postpone it rather than take it out of action for the whole of the winter and cause disruption for people who use the park.”

It is estimated the project will take eight weeks to complete and will cost approximately £200,000.

The work involves repairing collapsed and blocked pipes and extending the drainage network so it better serves the whole of the park.

The series of slit drains, which over time have been covered up with clay soil, will then be re-installed and linked into the main network.

Mr Coen said the problem with the slit drains is essentially the reason why the park has not been draining as well as it should.

“Once completed, it will be a lot better than it is now,” Mr Coen said.

“Hopefully we can, with better maintenance, keep it in that state rather than deteriorating over time.”

With the work delayed until Spring, it has caused anxieties that the Carnival and Todmorden Agricultural Show may be affected.

But Mr Coen said the EA will be in regular discussions with all interested groups and he stated that the work will only go ahead if it can be completed on a timescale which will allow the summer events to be held.

“We are hoping to do the whole thing in Spring, but we have got to be careful that the park is open for the agricultural show and carnival,” he said.

“We will be reviewing the weather forecast and whether we have time to get it finished and the park open again in time for the activities in the summer.

“We will make that decision together.

“It’s about getting that balance right with people who are committed to putting on events.”