A long anticipated environmental project in east Northampton is poised to start in the very near future.
The Billing Brook Lakes Sustainability Project will re-shape Kingfisher, Cygnet and Dragonfly Lakes along Billing Brook as it flows through Thorplands, Lumbertubs and Lings estates.
This will greatly reduce the silting and stagnation that has become such a problem in recent years and make it easier for the Lakes to be kept in good condition in future.
Pollution incidents – like the one in July 2016 that caused the loss of much of the birdlife – should now be flushed through much more effectively.
The new design for the lakes will make them deeper, narrower and faster-flowing. This will be achieved by dredging the three lakes and placing the silt behind barriers to create new wetland margins and islands. These will then be planted with wildflowers.
There will also be a reed bed at the top of Cygnet Lakes that will filter the water coming downstream from Kingfisher Lake.
The project is being funded by Northampton Borough Council, the Environment Agency, local charity Growing Together, the National Lottery Community Fund and the Mick George Community Fund.
The total cost of the makeover will eventually be almost £400,000, including the project development work and new leisure equipment already in place.
The construction work has been contracted to leading company Ebsford Environmental and is expected to start in early September, after the bird nesting season. The work should last for between eight and twelve weeks, subject to weather conditions.
Project manager Peter Strachan of Growing Together said: “The project has been coming for a long time and it’s great that we’re finally about to start.
“There’s likely, of course, to be some disruption, noise and possibly unpleasant smells while the work takes place. It shouldn’t last very long and we hope residents will agree that the finished project has been well worth it.”
Dianne Finnie, Deputy Chair of Growing Together and Chair of Brookside Residents Council (covering Lings and Lumbertubs) said: “I’m really excited that this restoration of the central feature of our estates is finally about to happen.
We’ve been pushing for it for a long time and we’re really grateful to all the funders and to everyone else who has contributed to making it happen.”
Cllr. Mike Hallam, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Northampton Borough Council – who own the lakes – said: “We’re delighted to have worked together with the residents and the other project partners to restore these much loved lakes for the local community.
“This is a really good example of multiple agencies and groups working together to achieve a great outcome.”