Seeking funding approval for park drainage work

Centre Vale Park, winter 2012-13, pictured by Peter Wood
Centre Vale Park, winter 2012-13, pictured by Peter Wood

Plans to rectify persistent drainage problems in Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park are being drawn up by Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency.

Investigations to identify defects preventing water draining from the park have been ongoing for several months and trial holes were dug to uncover the drainage infrastructure, most of which was found to be in good condition.

However, problems were found with the slit drains which connect the surface of the park to the drainage layers beneath, said a spokesman for both organisations.

Slit drains are vertical columns of sand and gravel that connect the ground surface to the drainage system beneath.

They allow vertical and horizontal movement of water towards the pipe network and run in parallel lines across the park, spaced every two metres.

Environment Agency engineers have discovered that some of the slit drains no longer operate because of blockages.

It is believed that, over time, the upper sand layer of the slit drains has been displaced by the surrounding soil which has a high clay content and, therefore, acts as a barrier to the movement of water.

Centre Vale Park has a long history of poor drainage but it was hoped that most of the problems would be rectified when part of the park was developed as a flood storage area, which meant that a new drainage system was installed, said the spokesman.

However, the problems have continued and Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency held a public meeting on Monday this week to provide an update on their investigations to find a solution.

Both organisations will now be seeking approval for funds to remedy the problems.

A further public meeting to update the park users group and other interested parties will be held on July 22.

Calderdale Council’s head of neighbourhoods, Andrew Pitts, said: “We are committed to making sure Centre Vale Park is enjoyed by local people now and for years to come.

“We continue to work hard with the Environment Agency to tackle the drainage issues in the park, and we are keeping the community informed.”

Andrew Coen, Environment Agency project manager, said: “We understand how important the park is to the local community and, working with our partners at Calderdale Council, we are determined to rectify the problems.”

Todmorden Agricultural Society members raised the alarm when they became concerned last autumn that the park was not draining following a summer of heavy rain.

This year’s event, which is usually held on the third Saturday in June, had to be cancelled in December as society members could not be sure the park would be usable by this month, as they risked incurring more costs along the way and may have faced a late cancellation having already committed cash reserves.