Mystery of missing money for silt clogged Verulamium Lake
PUBLISHED: 12:35 01 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:35 01 September 2016
A former portfolio holder responsible for Verulamium Lake has criticised the current council cabinet for scrapping the funding set aside for its upkeep.
Over recent years the St Albans lake has become clogged with silt which has presented a number of issues and prompted an outpouring of criticism from residents and visitors.
Cllr Robert Donald, who was St Albans council’s former portfolio holder for environment, has claimed that while he was in the Lib Dem cabinet the council spent ‘tens of thousands’ of pounds on consultants and research into Verulamium Lake.
He said that they set aside an initial sum of £50,000 to help maintain the lake and planned to add an annual contribution to ensure maintenance was continuing.
But Cllr Donald said that when the Conservative council was voted in in 2011, the funding was put into something else.
He continued: “It’s just galling that we put money aside. Where it went I have no idea. It’s five years since we lost control so it’s long been spent on something else.”
Cllr Donald said that along with council money, they received a grant from the Environment Agency to carry out “several tens of thousands” of pounds worth of research.
He said: “It was quite a big project and it must have started in 2002. We spent a lot of money doing research.”
But Cllr Donald does not think the current cabinet has used the research that was carried out.
He said: “Nobody ever has really picked up on the work that was done in the early 2000s. A lot of ordinary St Albans residents were involved and it all seems to have been forgotten. They said there isn’t a big problem here.”
Cllr Donald added: “But they’ve started to realise that it isn’t something you can just put into the water to solve. We came to that conclusion years before that.”
The current portfolio holder for environment Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles did not respond to the Herts Advertiser’s request for comment at the time of going to print.