Preston park drains to be replaced to cut flooding threat

An historic Preston park is to have its Victorian drains improved to prevent winter floods which are threatening houses on its perimeter.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 5:04 pm

Prolonged rainfall last winter left areas of Ashton Park under water and caused damage to the gardens of properties on Blackpool Road.

Now the city council is being asked to spend more than £25,000 to tackle the drainage issue which came close to inundating homes which back onto the park.

The council's cabinet will be asked tomorrow night to approve the work due to an "immediate concern" that the park could flood again this winter if, like last year, there is significant rainfall over a prolonged period and the drains are once again overwhelmed.

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Houses backing onto the park (left) are under threat from flooding.

"Ashton Park is an important town park which serves a large catchment of residents, visitors and families from Ashton and surrounding wards," says a report which will be presented to cabinet members.

"During the winter of 2020/21 the park experienced significant rainfall over an extended period, which lead to the Victorian drainage system being overwhelmed and the site being partly flooded.

"When the flooding subsided a drainage specialist carried out a survey of the location and found that the drainage system in the affected area has degraded and is unable to cope with and remove rainfall from the site.

"The drainage system needs urgent enhancements to ensure that the park remains safe and accessible during the autumn/winter months."

Ashton Park was honoured last month with a Green Flag award.

The park has houses on all four sides, but the main area of concern is along the north side where homes along Blackpool Road back directly on to the green open space.

"There is a significant and immediate concern regarding seasonal flooding in this area," adds the report.

"During the winter of 2020/21 the council received a number of complaints from concerned residents in relation to the flooding of their properties bordering the park with some coming very close to water entering their houses."

The scheme will see the installation of surface water gullies at regular distances along the footpath which runs behind the houses on Blackpool Road. The gullies will connect to a new 300-metre long main drain - which replaces the old collapsed drain - and discharge into an existing manhole.

Only a fortnight ago Ashton Park was one of six Preston open spaces to win the prestigious Green Flag award. It boasts a bowling green, two play areas, a number of football pitches and a grand country house.

The house was built in 1810 and was bought by the Pedder family in 1819 - James Pedder was the founder of the Old Preston Bank. It was bought in the 1860s by philanthropist Edmund Robert Harris and, following his death in 1877, the estate was bought by the English Electric Company and used a a social club and golf club by the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies football club.

Preston Council bought it in 1937 for just £27 and still owns the parkland.