Bedford Borough Council hires ecologist and drainage experts to help Longholme Lake

The Longholme boating lake on Bedford's embankment (Image: Cleaning Up Longholme Lake Facebook group)

Bedford Borough Council has confirmed that it is working with an ecologist and drainage experts to ensure that the much-loved Longholme Lake is returned to a ‘self-maintaining condition.’

For many years, the water has suffered from an overgrowth of weeds, caused by a build-up of silt on the bottom of the boating lake.

After a season of cleanups of the boating lake, conducted mainly by Bedford Borough Council, the water is now fairly weed-free, but requires a great deal of work to get its waters back to a ‘self-maintaining condition’.

Recent visitors to the Longholme Cafe may have seen the amphibious Truxsaw cutting the overgrown water weed for the first time this year and as the warm weather subsides, the hope is that the water will remain clear for the rest of the Autumn.

Longholme Lake has struggled with Algae for many years

Cllr Charles Royden, portfolio holder for environment, told the Bedford Independent: “The Council’s Grounds Maintenance Team have been busy out on Longholme Lake in recent weeks, using their Truxor amphibious machine to clear the weeds.

“We also have further maintenance works for the bush reeds planned over the winter.

“Looking at the longer term, we are getting assistance from an ecologist and drainage experts, alongside the Environment Agency and working closely with Longholme Café to see how we can make improvements and enhancements, including for wildlife.”

He said the aim was to tackle the problem in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way, to ensure the Lake remains a beautiful spot for residents and visitors.

The owners of the lakeside cafe have invested in a brand new fleet of eight rowing boats that they will introduce in Spring 2022, ahead of the centenary of the Longholme Lake in 2023.

“This investment we hope will tie in with the plans for an improved waterway,” a cafe representative told the Bedford Independent.

“The new hire fleet is being produced at the moment by a local firm and is fully funded by The Longholme café.

“It would be quite devastating if the condition of the waters prevents the running of this service but we have reassurance from the council and have seen great improvements in their efforts throughout 2021.

“I believe that with funding in the right places and ongoing maintenance the issue of weed and stagnant waters could be resolved in time for the centerary, then we can simply celebrate this wonderful town asset.”

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