Chorley Council issues revealing statement on Astley Park flooding problem

Constant flooding at Chorley's historic Ackhurst Lodge in Astley Park has been addressed in a detailed and revealing statement issued by the town council today (January 15).
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The town's council chiefs have 'demanded' that Lancashire County Council take action to fix the problem and say new housing developments in the area might lead to further flooding.

In a statement released today, Chorley Council has addressed the problem of flooding that has plagued the Grade-II listed building at the Southport Road entrance to the park.

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It came after heavy rain led to further flooding at the site this morning, leading to a lane closure outside the park gates and sparking concern from some residents at a perceived lack of action from the local authority.

The flooded Ackhurst Lodge in Astley Park, Chorley. Pic: Chorley CouncilThe flooded Ackhurst Lodge in Astley Park, Chorley. Pic: Chorley Council
The flooded Ackhurst Lodge in Astley Park, Chorley. Pic: Chorley Council

In response, Chorley Council has explained the measures the authority has taken to resolve the flooding, which it says is due to a blockage in the culvert taking runoff water from the swollen River Chor under Southport Road.

It says Lancashire County Council is responsible for maintaining the culvert and a 'frustrated' Chorley Council has "demanded that action be taken" to fix it.

It advised that the repairs will "take months to resolve" and says it has repeatedly requested that Lancashire County Council provide a "comprehensive solution" by installing a new larger culvert.

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A spokesman from Chorley Council said: "We’ve seen comments regarding concerns about the constant flooding at Ackhurst Lodge (at Astley Park) and we wanted to provide an update.

"We have been in regular communication with Lancashire County Council (LCC) regarding the issue of checking the culvert under Southport Road, for which they are responsible for maintaining.

"They have been out to the culvert to investigate and have identified a blockage. We continue to demand that action is taken to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible."

The Council has also dismissed reports that the flooding is due to a new housing development - Ackhurst Lodge Drive - which is situated close to Ackhurst Lodge.

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It said: "We know that some of you have suggested that the issue may be caused by the housing development built nearby, however, this housing was built with planning conditions, all of which have been fully met.

"The water run off from the housing development and the car park is controlled by a tank and water flow control device which holds back water."

But the Council has acknowledged that the flooding might be due to wider housing developments which have been built alongside the River Chor. It also expressed its concerns about further Government mandated housing developments across the borough and the risk of further flooding that this poses.

It said: "We do however suspect that greater housing across the River Chor catchment is increasing flows in to the culvert and again have asked Lancashire County Council to assess whether the current culvert is fit for purpose and large enough.

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"As you may be aware we are currently vigorously expressing our concerns to the government about Westminster trying to impose yet higher housing numbers on Chorley which is not fair and risks adding to flooding issues that are already affecting many residents across Chorley and the surrounding villages."

Chorley Council has said previously that it has set aside money to renovate Ackhurst Lodge, but will only progress with its plans once the flooding issue has been resolved.

Following flooding in December, it said: "We know how important the building is to local people so we, along with those who have already raised this issue, will continue to demand urgent action is taken.

"We have set aside money to renovate the building and bring it back into use but we can only progress this once the recent flooding issues are resolved."

This is the full statement from Chorley Council

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"We’ve seen comments regarding concerns about the constant flooding at Ackhurst Lodge (at Astley Park) and we wanted to provide an update.

"We have been in regular communication with Lancashire County Council (LCC) regarding the issue of checking the culvert under Southport Road, for which they are responsible for maintaining.

"They have been out to the culvert to investigate and have identified a blockage. We continue to demand that action is taken to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible.

"We have done everything we can ourselves in terms of clearing debris to prevent further blocking of the culvert, including commissioning our own survey to identify any further issues at the site, plus we are looking to implement measures that will help prevent the culvert getting blocked in the future, once current flooding subsides.

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"Legally however we are unable to take direct action to resolve this matter as the culvert is owned by LCC, even though damage is taking place to Chorley Council property as a result.

"We know that some of you have suggested that the issue may be caused by the housing development built nearby, however, this housing was built with planning conditions, all of which have been fully met.

"The water run off from the housing development and the car park is controlled by a tank and water flow control device which holds back water.

"We do however suspect that greater housing across the River Chor catchment is increasing flows in to the culvert and again have asked Lancashire County Council to assess whether the current culvert is fit for purpose and large enough.

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"As you may be aware we are currently vigorously expressing our concerns to the government about Westminster trying to impose yet higher housing numbers on Chorley which is not fair and risks adding to flooding issues that are already affecting many residents across Chorley and the surrounding villages.

"Like you there is little we can do ourselves if we are affected by flooding like this which is the responsibility of others.

"The Ackhurst Lodge building was initially damaged in floods a number of years ago and we have deliberately refrained from repairing it until the whole issue is resolved as we suspected that we would experience further issues.

"Whilst this is frustrating for us all, sadly all we can do at the moment is to await a dry period to reduce flows and ensure that any blockages are removed and a new larger culvert installed by LCC if required. This will take months to resolve but this is a longstanding issue and needs a comprehensive solution.

"In the meantime the area is fenced off for safety reasons and we’ll reopen when safe to do so."