Mission launched to restore beauty spot lakes in Northampton back to their former glory

Thorplands Lake shown at the end of summer. The drying up lakes are set for a major overhaul thanks to a scheme being co-ordinated by the  Growing Together organisation.

Thorplands Lake shown at the end of summer. The drying up lakes are set for a major overhaul thanks to a scheme being co-ordinated by the Growing Together organisation.

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A group of organisations are clubbing together to try and save a set of much-loved lakes in Northampton after pollution and a drop in water levels left them looking like swamps.

In recent years people in the eastern side of Northampton have watched water levels drop and pollution rise at the four Billing Brook lakes in Lings, Lumbertubs and Thorplands.

Thorplands Lake shown at the end of summer. The drying up lakes are set for a major overhaul thanks to a scheme being co-ordinated by the  Growing Together organisation.

Thorplands Lake shown at the end of summer. The drying up lakes are set for a major overhaul thanks to a scheme being co-ordinated by the Growing Together organisation.

Now the Lottery-funded community group Growing Together and the Environment Agency are asking people what they would like to see done at the former beauty spots, to make them more attractive again.

Growing Together programme co-ordinator, Peter Strachan, said: “So often we find that local communities have just as good ideas as the professionals.

“They look at things from a different perspective and come up with different ideas.

“We therefore really want to hear from the people who visit and walk by these lakes every day, or from any other interested resident, before we set our consultant to work looking at the possibilities.”

Chairman of Growing Together Andrea McAuliffe, said the root cause of the lakes’ decline has been a combination of lower rainfall and a falling water table.

It effectively means a much smaller amount of rainfall has reached the lakes in recent years.

This has had a devastating effect on the local wildlife and in 2015, four cygnets died due to oil pollution.

A report commissioned later that year by civil engineer Jim Milne, found fuel oil, engine oil, transmission oil and brake fluid were all being dropped accidentally by lorries parked by the side of the road. The fluids were then being washed into a set of storm drains, polluting the lakes.

Growing Together has teamed up with Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council, Daventry District Council, the Wildlife Trust and Paul Wilson Homes, the developer of the new Overstone Leys estates, to work up ideas to improve the lakes’ appearance.

Between the organisations they have come up with “over a dozen” schemes, which they are now working on in detail.

Any members of the public wishing to submit their own ideas should send them to Mr Strachan by Friday, November 11.

You can contact him by e-mail at peter.strachan@blackthorncommunity.org.uk