Progress on Sandhills lake should end delay in adoption of sewers and roads

Pratts Quarry lake: Photo by Graham Mountford
Pratts Quarry lake: Photo by Graham Mountford

The future of a lake on the edge of Leighton’s Sandhills estate appears to have been finally resolved – and that could mean more roads in the area could soon become the responsibility of Central Beds Council.

The recreational lake - which filled in a crater at Pratt’s Quarry - was built by Arnold White Estates when they constructed the estate.

Adopted roads in Sandhills

Adopted roads in Sandhills

It was always intended that the responsibility for the lake would be handed over to Central Bedfordshire Council as a recreational facility, but negotiations stumbled over the amount of money that would be handed over to run the lake.

But now the LBO understands an agreement has been made, and that should soon lead to Anglian Water adopting the sewerage network from Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey, which in turn should result in Central Beds Council adopting the roads across the development.

Building of the estate began in the early 2000s, but despite 1,500 houses now being constructed, so far just three roads (Johnson Drive, Kestrel Way and Turnham Drive) have been taken on by CBC.

And town and CBC councillor Amanda Dodwell admitted it had been dragging on and causing difficulties.

She said: “The adoption of the drains by Anglian Water is a long standing issue. Currently, a number of the drains appear to be poorly maintained by the developers and are blocked with mud/construction debris.

“The council will not adopt the roads until the drains are brought up to adoption standard and taken over by Anglian Water – the council wouldn’t want to take on any possible financial liability arising from having to repair the roads following further work to the drains. The situation does appear to be dragging on – Billington Park also started to be built from 2000 and the roads were adopted by 2007/8.

“On the unadopted roads in Sandhills, the developers remain responsible for all repairs to the road surface, drains and street lighting. The fact that the street lighting remains with the developers has caused issues as residents and councillors have had to work out which of the developers are responsible for the lights in question. We have had parts of the estate in darkness as the street lights have been poorly maintained!”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson confirmed that progress had been made on the lake adoption, which had created the sewers and roads bottleneck: “The lake had to be adopted by Central Bedfordshire Council prior to the adoption of any surface water sewers that fed into it, which was a requirement of Anglian Water.

“The lake was the responsibility of Arnold White and the matter could not be advanced until all quarrying was completed and the lake formed in its entirety.

“Now this issue has been resolved, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon can start to get the surface water sewers adopted. The council already has responsibility for the majority of Johnson Drive and Kestrel Way.

“Much of the main drainage and highway infrastructure was built by Arnold White. The Sandhills site was developed by Wilcon Homes (later Bryant) and Barratt. Taylor Wimpey has several residential phases on the other (newer) residential areas of the site, as do Persimmon.

“We have a consultant managing the repairs of the roads, drains and lighting. If issues related to this are reported we will ensure they are dealt with accordingly. Most of the foul water sewers on all of the sites are adopted already by Anglian Water.”

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Midlands, said: “The Persimmon development parcels are served by main infrastructure roads and sewers under the responsibility of another party.

“Recent progress has been made with the adoption of these roads and sewers which will now enable us to progress the adoption of the roads and sewers within the development parcels.

“Until such time as the roads and sewers within the development parcels are adopted, Persimmon Homes will remain responsible for their maintenance.

“We have not been made aware of any specific blockages in respect of the drains with the Persimmon development parcels. Any issues of this kind should be reported to the Persimmon Homes Midlands head office in Northampton.”

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We’re working closely with the developers of Sandhills Estate to adopt the sewers. Our engineers are working in the area inspecting the sewers and making sure they are in good condition and working correctly before they are adopted. The adoption process is a standard process for all water industry throughout England.”

A spokesman for Central Beds Council said: “The reason that further roads within the development remain unadopted is due to the sewers beneath the road not been adopted by Anglian Water yet as it is generally the council’s policy that we will not adopt a road until the sewers beneath the road have been vested to Anglian Water.”