Buckshole reservoir safety works
The three reservoirs within Alexandra Park were built in Victorian times to supply water to Hastings. Buckshole Reservoir, the largest of the three and the last to be built is now more than 150 years old.
The reservoirs no longer supply drinking water, but they are still an asset to the town, providing a focus for fishing, recreation and wildlife.
Why are these improvements being made?
We continue to maintain our reservoirs to the highest safety standards in line with current regulations. A detailed inspection of the reservoirs in 2016 identified the need for improvement works at Shornden and Buckshole Reservoirs. The works at Shornden Reservoir were completed in 2018. For Buckshole Reservoir further investigations and studies have been needed to determine the scope of work required to help ensure the integrity of this important part of the park for the future.
The safety standards required for large bodies of impounded water have been raised over the years. The recommendations for improvement work from the 2016 inspection have been made with reference to current standards.
What exactly is being done?
During the time since the recommendations for the improvement work were made, a number of studies have been carried out to help identify the most appropriate course of action to meet current standards within the setting of Alexandra Park. As well as the engineering requirements, ecology, landscape and heritage studies have been commissioned to help ensure the proposed works are carried out in the most sympathetic way, avoiding adverse impacts.
The proposed improvement works are:
- A new outlet pipe, to be built within the existing overflow structure, which will allow the reservoir to be drained in a timely manner should a problem with the dam ever be detected.
- A new spillway channel to replace the original and aged structure which has now deteriorated beyond economic repair. The new channel will be larger than the original to ensure it can cope with and protect the dam from the largest predicted floods.
When are these works being done?
Proposals to improve the safety of Buckshole Reservoir have been given the green light by the council's Planning Committee.
This allows preparatory works to start during the early part of 2021. Work was delayed over the winter of 2021, and began at the end of February 2022.
Will there be an impact on the environment and residents?
Protecting the environment and maintaining the amenity value of the lakes for the enjoyment of our community are very important to us. An ecology assessment has been undertaken to ensure negative impacts are avoided and discussions are taking place with Historic England regarding the heritage interest of the park.
During construction, it will be necessary to temporarily close-off access to the area around the western side of the dam so that the work can be carried out safely.
We also realise that noise can be an issue during construction, and this will be addressed by careful selection of an experienced contractor and the use of appropriate construction machinery and equipment.
Minor disruption as a result of these works
The contractors for this project will be putting in measures in place surrounding the reservoir to ensure the safety of the public and their workers.
There will be a temporary closure of the footpath along St Helen's Road on the Alexandra Park side to allow the site entrance to be created. A diversion will be put in place during this closure.
Parking along the Alexandra Park side of the road will also be suspended for 100m above and below the site entrance.
The lower footpath between the Alexandra Park public toilets and the reservoir will be closed for the duration of the works for safety reasons. There will be a signed diversion in place.
The footpath on St Helen's Road will stay open but there will be short closures to allow construction vehicles in and out of the site. A traffic light system will also be in place but will only be used occasionally to allow larger vehicles to have a smooth entrance and exit. It will be monitored by designated traffic marshals.
Parking along the Alexandra Park side of the road 100m on either side of the site entrance will be suspended to allow construction traffic to enter and exit the site and to provide visibility for either side of the temporary junction.
When construction is taking place, access to the footbridge crossing the spillway channel will remain open but may occasionally close for a short period of time to allow machinery and materials to be transported to the spillway. This will also be controlled by traffic marshals
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