Park destruction

PUBLISHED: 12:39 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010

SIR — Several correspondents have voiced their concern over St Albans District Council s plans to surround the Veulamium lakes with a wall of vegetation — or a muddy eyesore like the last planting effort near the bridge. If successive councils cannot fund

SIR - Several correspondents have voiced their concern over St Albans District Council's plans to surround the Veulamium lakes with a wall of vegetation - or a muddy eyesore like the last planting effort near the bridge.

If successive councils cannot fund the regular desilting that lakes like these need -currently 17 years overdue - are they really going to fund the expensive maintenance needed to keep lakeside plants in good order?

The current ornamental lakes are a poorly-recognised monument to the period in which they were built and the labourers who built them and deserve to be preserved as part of the city's heritage as well as for the iconic views of grass meeting water which appear in so many photos of the park.

It gets worse. On digging into the oddly-named Conservation Management Plan at www.verpark.stalbans.org.uk we discover that the historic mill stream - the diverted river - is to be destroyed by dropping it into a deep cutting by the Abbey Mill Lane entrance.

A small new leat alongside would feed some water to the millpond at the Fighting Cocks through a pipe across the cutting. Was this explained in the consultations last year? I don't think so.

The mill stream dates back at least to the early days of the Abbey in the 11th century. It is criticised for not being a natural chalk stream, like the rest of the Ver, and the proposal is intended to restore it. Since the natural river would meander through a bog at the bottom of the valley where the lakes are, this is not a restoration but destruction of part of the city's heritage.

The proposals have been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Commission for a £2m grant. The HLF tell me that they are happy to accept comments from the public to be considered alongside the proposals, at Terrington House, 13-15 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1NL.

PETER MILNE,

Alma Road, St Albans.

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