New major water main will go through Knole Park says South East Water
The Knole Park Gallops has been selected as the route for a new water main which is needed to secure a supply for Sevenoaks in the future.
South East Water announced the route today (Thursday 12 September) and this evening representatives from the company will be at a public information event to answer questions about the plans in St Nicholas’ Church Undercroft.
The new water pipe will support a 12-inch pipe laid in the 1950s which runs under Sevenoaks High Street. The two pipes working together will keep water pressures high as new developments are built and demand for water increases. South East Water says that without this new pipe, parts of Sevenoaks could have faced no water or low pressure during peak summer demand as early as 2021.
The route will be a relief to Sevenoaks High Street stores and businesses who feared an alternative route along the high street would mean weeks, or possibly months, of disruption to trade while the road was dug up.
But the announcement will be a huge disappointment to a group of residents who had started a petition against digging up Knole Park because of the threat to the wildlife and the environment and the fact the route goes through an area of Special Scientific Interest.
South East Water says the selected route takes into account a number of factors including socio-economic impact, environment and engineering difficulty, as well as work duration and cost.
According to the National Trust which now owns the historic Knole House, The Gallops are in the valley running through the west of The Park that was formed by a river in prehistoric times.
In medieval and Tudor times it was used for show hunts and visitors would place bets on which hound would reach the end of the Gallops first.
Paul Beaumont, Project Manager at South East Water, said: “Over the last eight months we have spoken to hundreds of Sevenoaks residents, businesses and local interest groups. We’ve been working closely with a number of organisations including Sevenoaks District Council, the National Trust, Sackville Trust and Sir Michael Fallon MP.
“Those we consulted with overwhelmingly preferred the new pipe to run through the valley of Knole Park and ground investigation surveys confirmed that this is the only viable route option.
“Much of the new pipe will follow the route of our existing main in the park’s valley bottom. A map of the selected route can be found on our dedicated web page, corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/sevenoaks. If customers have any questions about our decision, I’d encourage them to speak to our project team at the public exhibition session where we’ll be displaying our latest plans.”
The drop-in meeting will take place from 4pm to 7pm tonight (12 September) at St Nicholas’ Church Undercroft, Rectory Lane, Sevenoaks.
Construction work on the new drinking water pipe is due to start in spring 2020 and last up to 12 months.