An ornamental pond at risk of further collapse due to extensive cracking is to undergo repairs totalling £110,000.
The historic water feature in Dover's Russell Gardens will have much of its base rebuilt after structural surveys revealed significant movement of the concrete and “significant voids”.
Dover District Council (DDC) has decided to allocate £110,000 to the repair works – which will come from a pot of £200,000 set aside for work on the park in March.
The pond is currently empty due to the periodic drying up of the River Dour which runs through Dover.
The pond previously dried up in 2008 and 2017 – when the council also used the opportunity to survey its base.
In 2017 the council didn’t notice any issues with the structure.
However, in December 2019, a large part of the base collapsed due to holes in the concrete, and the full extent of the damage was only revealed by the drying up of the Dour this year.
Once silt was drained it was revealed that large cracks and holes have developed in the pond base, which structural investigators Henderson Thomas Associates say have got much worse in the last five years.
The council’s strategic director Roger Walton is “hopeful at the moment that we’ll be under the sum of £110k by some margin".
However, he warned that works needed and therefore the costs aren’t set in stone.
“Some of the work’s already taken place and they’re still excavating one or two areas to the side of the pond and until you’ve excavated you don’t quite know what you’re going to find,” he added.
Cllr Oliver Richardson, cabinet member for community and corporate property, said: “This is something that has been worrying officers since I took over this portfolio, and I’m glad now that they’ve had a chance to drain it and get a full report.”
'It's fantastic that we are taking the time to continue works...'
Cllr Chris Vinson, cabinet member for finance, governance, digital and climate change, described the Russell Gardens and the nearby Kearsney Abbey as “the jewel in the crown of our parks.”
He added: “It's fantastic that we are taking the time to continue works to invest in and restore some of the assets there.”
DDC’s cabinet voted unanimously to allocate the money at a meeting of the cabinet earlier this month.
It is not yet known how long the repairs will take or for how long the pond will be dry.