For a number of years this derelict brickwork site off Boxalls Lane has laid waste with considerable problems of child safety and refuse tipping together with fly tipping by, in many cases, local residents. There has been tipping authorised by the Council of excavated builders material however, this has been planned to enable proposed new levels of the ground to be achieved in an economic fashion.
A Working Party in the past has determined that the area should not be used for formal playing fields for football or other organised games as such. Instead, the Working Party had determined and recommended to the Recreation and Amenities Committee that Boxalls Lane be landscaped and made into a nature park.
Consequently the scheme as illustrated on the plans and sketches follows the course recommended by the previous Working Party, and proposes that a very natural appearance and environment should be the theme of the works. The best possible use is to be made of existing natural features and ground contours. It is consequently proposed that the bulk of the site be graded and landscaped as shown on the plans to create a natural park-like setting around the pond, which will, it is hoped, provide a refuge for birds, possibly fish, and other forms of wildlife.
The pond will be the primary visual feature around which the other landscape proposals are centred. The cleaning, en1arging and regrading of the banks of the pond will, with safety very much in mind, reshape the edges of the pond so that they slope gradually into the water with no steep drops. Care must also be taken to use only hardy plants natural to the area, as this is to be a nature park, the only maintenance envisaged is of the cleaning and tidying order, with perhaps one grass cut per year.
The ditch course along the length of the western boundary is an integral part of the surface water drainage network, and in storm conditions it can run full. Diverting this ditch course into the pond should ensure a constant flow of fresh water through the pond, consequently avoiding all the problems associated with stagnant waters. Fresh water will encourage wildlife and it is even possible that some small species of fish could thrive.
Our Drainage Engineers feel that to prevent a large rise in the pond level during storm conditions, an overflow must be constructed to route the excess water back to the ditch course. This overflow will consequently determine the water level of the pond. If for any reason the overflow was to become clogged to a state that it did not function correctly, the water level in the pond could rise very rapidly and possibly overflow the banks, thereby putting the houses in the adjacent Brickfields Estate at some risk. In order to prevent this, it is suggested that as a part of the overall reforming of the ground levels a "bund" or earth bank of at least two meter width by one meter height should be formed.
The possibility of ground water movement from the pond to lower levels has been considered by the Drainage Engineers who cannot quantify this risk, but, given that a pond has existed here for some time and no complaints or evidence of such ground water flow have been forthcoming, it is suspected that this flow is minimal and that owing to subsoil conditions the risk is very slight. The provisional drainage proposals are shown on the plan, however the Drainage Engineers will need to carry out further more detailed designs prior to work proceeding, but this should not prevent the general works from commencing late this summer.
Over the intervening years since this proposal and the parks construction, the pond and surrounding vegetation has matured, unfortunately not to its overall benefit. In late 2017 early 2018 tests ascertained that the problem was due to loss of sunlight combined with the surface water drainage quality. A remedial works contractor was appointed and works started in July 2018. A series of pages covering the works linked from our main photo Gallery can be found - here [back] [top]
The ground water which originally discharged into the Highfield Gardens ditch from a pipe, note 2 above, is the main surface water drainage 15" main from the Crown Estate and Croft Lane roads. The ditch does still flow occasionally when we have had a period of heavy rain and the remains of the ditch, both the upper and lower sections, still provide some drainage for the gardens of properties in Highfield Gardens although the middle section has largely been filled in by the property owners. This water source scheme, whilst originally seen as a convenient source of water for the pond, over the intervening years has possibly not turned out to be as good as originally thought. Comprised of surface drainage from a large area of roads on the Crown Estate there is a lot of road debris, tyre rubber and various associated chemicals in the water and we think that this may now be the source of the gradual decline of the pond and its wildlife over the years. [back] [top]