The sluice gates and boathouse were built around the 1830’s when the River Len was dammed to form the lake and are now in need of refurbishment.
As a result of a reservoir safety inspection, which the park is required to undertake every ten years, essential work was recommended.
The work includes refurbishment of the sluice gates, an increase in the capacity of the overspill of the lake, construction of a ‘wave wall’ and a short section of embankment. These works will improve the capacity to control the transfer of flow across the dam and ensure that the dam does not fail during extreme flood events.
If the dam were to fail, the risk posed could see the water swell rapidly over 40 acres of land, which would see Turkey Mill, Mote Park and surrounding areas under water. With estimated depths of 12 feet this would endanger lives and damage homes and businesses.
The work begins in December and is estimated to take around a year. It will unfortunately require 300 of the park’s 54,000 trees to be removed between the park and Turkey Mill Lake. However these will all be replaced, tree for tree with 300 new trees during November on the perimeter of the park. This will add to the hundreds of new trees that have been planted over the past six years.
All wood removed will remain in the park and be used to create benches, woodchip, footpaths and habitat piles.
Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council said:
“We have been planning these essential works for some time and have appointed consultants to carry out various studies to make sure any works will be sufficient to ensure the safety of the dam during an extreme flood.
"There will be some disruption around the park and lake during the works, however we will try to minimise this and hope to have works completed by the end of 2020.
“We are saddened to have to cut down trees, however the safety of residents is our top priority and we cannot risk the integrity of the dam.”