Shrinking asset

PUBLISHED: 11:52 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 06 May 2010

SIR, — The latest proposals for Verulamium, St Albans, and the basis for the Heritage Fund application can be seen at the Central Library — and elsewhere. I remain firmly opposed to many of the proposals regarding the lake itself. 1.) The truncation of th

SIR, - The latest proposals for Verulamium, St Albans, and the basis for the Heritage Fund application can be seen at the Central Library - and elsewhere. I remain firmly opposed to many of the proposals regarding the lake itself.

1.) The truncation of the north-east corner of the lake, thus marooning the mill pond and diverting the Ver stream across what now is part of the lake. The bulge toward the Fighting Cocks forms a remarkable optical illusion, making the lake appear far larger than it actually is. I would urge readers to stand near that corner and shield with one hand the area which is to be sacrificed. The lake will immediately appear to shrink to resemble a narrow channel.

2.) The "naturalisation" of the lake edges. Such a move would firstly seriously restrict public access to the lake. Secondly, in the light of the woeful record of maintenance of the park, the proposed banks would very soon be overrun with weeds. In wet weather the banks would become muddy and muddy water would spread across the verges and public paths. In addition, since the chalk substrate is only a matter of inches below the surface, any breaching of the cement basin either at the sides, or worse at the base, would mean that the lake water would immediately run away, never to be seen again. Even a minor reduction of the height at the sides would result in serious loss of lake water depth. The only way to carry out this hare-brained scheme would be for the whole lake basin to be lined with butyl or some such, at great expense - and how "natural" is that?

As previous writers have said, Verulamium Park is not wild and bosky countryside, it is a municipal park and an enormous asset for which we have to be grateful to the inspired work of the 1930s' council and the otherwise unemployed construction team. We must not allow it to be ruined by woolly-minded rural idyllists.

BERNARD STAY,

Fishpool Street, St Albans.

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