Member of Parliament for Hertsmere, Oliver Dowden, has met with representatives from Liberty Aldenham to discuss the future of Aldenham Reservoir.
Last December, Hertfordshire County Council's lease of Aldenham Reservoir expired and the ownership of the reservoir passed from Safari Investments to Liberty Lake Leisure, a subsidiary of Liberty Aldenham. Liberty Lake Leisure has bought the reservoir after an earlier scheme to repair the reservoir's dam in return for permission to build homes on nearby green belt land was rejected by Hertsmere Borough Council. Liberty Aldenham own the land off Watford Road that they previously applied to build houses on.
Mr Dowden said:
"I know that many of my constituents are concerned about the future of the reservoir. It is a precious resource that many of us, including my own family, have enjoyed for many generations. As Liberty Aldenham are the new owners of the reservoir I felt that it was important to meet with them to discuss what their plans are.
"We had a constructive meeting where we agreed that we shared an interest in ensuring the preservation of the reservoir for future generations and in maximising public access."
At the meeting Liberty Aldenham said that they plan to submit a planning application over the next couple of months to develop homes on the site they own adjacent to the reservoir. If this application is successful Liberty Aldenham have pledged to transfer the reservoir to a Community Trust and provide the new Board of Trustees with a £5 million dowry from the development.
Liberty Aldenham claim that these monies would allow the new Community Trust to enhance facilities at the reservoir and to rebuild the reservoirs dam at some point in the future. Liberty Aldenham envisage that the Trust would be composed of important local stakeholders who will be able to work together to achieve common objectives in the best interests of the community.
Mr Dowden said:
"During the meeting we had the opportunity to discuss many of the concerns raised by residents, particularly around how the proceeds of any future development on land off Watford Road could be used to guarantee the future of the reservoir as well as plans for greater public access. I stressed the importance that in the event of any approval their are legally watertight guarantees within the section 106 agreement that they will deliver upon their commitments to the local community.
"Once Liberty Aldenham submit their planning application this will be a difficult decision that will have to be taken by Hertsmere Borough Council, balancing the protection of green open spaces with the securing the reservoir's future. I would urge all interested parties to engage directly with Liberty Aldenham and the planning process.
"As the local Member of Parliament and someone with a deep appreciation for the importance of the reservoir to the local community I am keen that all the community is fully consulted and I will continue to monitor developments very closely."