Anglian Water defends decision to dig up Louth beauty spot

Work by Anglian Water to put in a new water pipeline will see a chunk of Westgate Fields being dug up for six-weeks from Monday (July 3).
Work by Anglian Water to put in a new water pipeline will see a chunk of Westgate Fields being dug up for six-weeks from Monday (July 3).

Anglian Water has defended its decision to dig up Westgate Fields at the end of next month to carry out major improvements to the Louth’s main water network.

The work will involve laying a new pipe through Westgate Fields - one of the town’s most popular recreational spaces - to provide water for a 149-home development in Fulmar Drive.

The project is likely to last six-weeks - resulting in the work not being completed until mid-August.

The scheme has already been delayed on two occasions after the initial dates in winter and spring were put back due to what Anglian Water calls other ‘priority schemes’.

Town and district councillor, Jill Makinson-Sanders is unhappy Anglian Water has chosen ‘the peak summer season’ to carry out the work.

She told The Leader: “This scheme has really annoyed me.

“They keep moving the date back and back. The last I was told was the work would begin at the beginning of June - but now it’s at the end of July makes it even worse!”

Coun Makinson-Sanders said she feared the work would deprive residents and visitors the chance to enjoy the full use of Westgate Fields at one of the most popular times of the year.

She claimed the town had ‘very little’ open space and added Westgate Fields was used be people of all ages.

She added: “They should have done the work during the winter months, like it was initially planned.

“We had rather a mild winter so the work could have been easily done.

“It’s now entered a period where we’re encouraging youngsters to go outside in the fresh air and make use of our beauty spots - but without a big part of Westgate Fields it makes it more difficult.”

Regan Harris, PR and media manager for Anglian Water, said: “We do have a legal duty to extend our network to provide water and sewerage services for new developments and work closely with both developers and local councils on the scope of this work.”

She added alternative routes for the new pipe had been considered but would have meant shutting off access to several schools while work was completed. Ms Harris said that was ‘not acceptable’ and would have caused even more disruption for parents and children.

She added the route through Westgate Field was also the most cost effective.

Ms Harris explained whenever the company did major work there was often disruption, whatever time of year it took place.

She added: “If we could lay pipes without touching the ground we would.

“Carrying out the work when the weather is dry and the ground is firm will limit the impact and damage our equipment will make, meaning the grass will recover quicker.”

She said Anglian Water was aware Westgate Fields is a ‘well used amenity site’ and would accommodate the community by working around any events - even if it meant moving equipment.

She added: “We will ensure the park is returned to its original state as quickly as possible, and will be working to have as little impact as possible on the site.

“We have agreed that once the work is completed, we will walk the site with councillors and won’t sign the work off until they are completely satisfied.”

l What are your thoughts on Westgate Fields being dug up for six weeks during the peak summer season?

Email your views to: chloe.west@jpress.co.uk.