‘We won’t be able to finish park drainage work until the spring’

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Completion of work to rectify persistent drainage problems in Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park has been delayed until spring because the ground has become waterlogged.

Environment Agency contractors have spent the last six weeks replacing damaged underground drains in the park and cleaning others which had become blocked.

The final part of the work was to install new slit drains to connect the surface of the park to the drainage layers underneath but poor ground conditions following recent heavy rain mean this cannot be undertaken at the present time. The EAand its contractors are concerned that attempts to dig slit drains now could cause very serious damage to the park which would take years to recover.

Slit drains are vertical columns and sand and gravel which allow water to drain towards an underground pipe network and are installed using special machinery.

Darren Gallagher, the Environment Agency’s project manager, said: “After consulting with our contractors, we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone completion of the work until we get a spell of weather which will enable the ground to dry out.

“There is a big risk that attempting to dig slit drains in the current conditions would cause very severe damage to the park and that the drains themselves would not be formed properly because the ground is too saturated.

“We are very disappointed that we have had to take this decision as we had intended to complete the work by the end of November and were well ahead of schedule after the dry and settled weather in September. We will continue to monitor weather forecasts and will recommence the works if we have a favourable spell. However, we are fast approaching winter so this may not be possible until spring.”

It had been hoped that the problems would be cured when new drainage was installed in 2007 However, the problems have continued and the EA and Calderdale Council, which owns the park, secured £150,000 to enable the rectification work to go ahead.