Plea to refill park’s historic boating pond

The pond at Broomfield Park has remained dry for over two years thanks to blocked pipes and a broken pump, reports James Cracknell

How the boating pond at Broomfield Park looks currently without any water and (inset) how it looked in previous years
How the boating pond at Broomfield Park looks currently without any water and (inset) how it looked in previous years

Volunteers who help look after one of the borough’s most historic parks are calling on the council to repair a boating pond that has remained empty for more than two years.

The pond at Broomfield Park in Palmers Green – once popular with model boat enthusiasts – has been left dry since 2020 when blocked pipes prevented it from being refilled from a borehole that had been keeping it topped with water for decades.

A further problem was subsequently discovered with the pump that had been extracting water from underground, and a third issue has also added to the rising costs of restoring the pond.

The council is now warning that fixing all the problems with the pond will require “significant investment” after an inspection found that its concrete surface was badly cracked.

The co-chair of the Friends of Broomfield Park voluntary group says restoring the pond is their top priority and that if money is a barrier to it being fixed they would consider launching a fundraising campaign or applying for grants, but that the council won’t tell them what the estimated costs are.

Kim Lumley told the Dispatch: “The drain pipe and the supply pipe both blocked up nine years ago, so it started to get full of leaf fall and rubbish and it had terrible problems with algae. For the last five or six years I have been trying to work with the council to get them to resolve the issue.

“Two years ago they started carrying out investigations and they found blockages in the drain pipe and the supply pipe and two lots of works were carried out to clear them, but then they found another blockage in the supply pipe and it became apparent the pump is no longer working.

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“It seems the pump needs to be lifted out with a crane and you have to replace the pipe, which is another big job. And we don’t know whether the pond will still hold water because it has been exposed for two years.”

Broomfield Park boasts four separate ponds, with three dating to the 18th Century when they were part of the grounds of Broomfield House, before the park had opened to the public. The boating pond is newer, having been installed in the years after the park first opened in 1903, but is a popular feature of the park.

Kim said: “It is an important historical feature in the park, but it is now an eyesore rather than a feature. There has always been a model boating club there and they are very frustrated by it all.

“The council did invest in the sports facility last year and we worked with them on the wetlands project, but a lot of the features in the park have been neglected.

“Our friends group is a big voluntary organisation, with people working on the wildlife garden, the beehives, and with excluded schoolchildren. The boating pond is the top priority in our action plan. If the council is not going to fix it, we need to know so we can do something.”

A council spokesperson said: “We have reviewed the condition of the boating pond in Broomfield Park and the facility will require significant investment to restore it into a serviceable condition.

“This is partly due to cracks in the concrete structure and also due to the pump that pumps water into the pond from an aquifer below ground being broken.

“There are a number of options for repair and reinstatement that we will consider before consulting with the friends groups and other park users in the autumn.”

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