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Cash problem forces lake rethink

FUNDING problems have forced a rethink on plans to improve Verulamium Lake and the River Ver and the scheme could be extended to regenerate the whole park.

The district council has been considering a proposal, costed at £1.47 million, to combat pollution and improve the area for wildlife by reducing the lake at the south-east corner and diverting the river.

But council officers have been looking for sources of cash and last week's cabinet heard the only realistic chance was a National Lottery grant.

In a report, green spaces officer Allen Challender said: "Such a bid would need to be based on a heritage plan for the regeneration of the whole park.

"It is understood that a bid for just a part or single feature of the park would be unsuccessful."

No details are available of what such a heritage plan might involve, but council officers have been talking to the Heritage Lottery Fund about the Roman theatre, the Verulamium Museum, St Michael's Church and the hypocaust.

The total cost could be £2 million, of which the council would need to find at least £500,000.

The cabinet agreed to ask officers to look at preparing a bid and also to provide £45,000 in next year's budget to clean up the lake in the short-term.

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