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Call to create boating lake at Darwen disused reservoir
THE former leader of Darwen Town Council has called for a disused former reservoir to be transformed into a boating lake, complete with leisure facilities and a visitor centre.
Steve Duncan, a self-employed locksmith, of Park Road, said Jacks Key could be a real asset to the town.
The reservoir was drained some years ago amid flooding fears and had fallen into disrepair, with ownership of the site transferring to the Duchy of Lancaster.
Recently, the Environment Agency announced it would begin work next year to make the site safe from flood risk, ahead of it being transferred to the council for a nominal fee.
But what the site will be used for in the future still remains to be decided, although a nature reserve is most likely.
Mr Duncan said plans for the site should be more ambitious. He said: “They are talking about partially filling it, but nobody is saying what they are going to do afterwards.
“How about putting in a cycle track around it, as well as a footpath and a visitor centre?
“This way they could provide refreshments, hire out canoes, or dinghies, sell fishing day tickets, and rent out bikes.
“None of these facilities already exist in Darwen and it would bring in more people from out of town, as well as create a few jobs.
“And it doesn’t necessarily have to cost the council any money.
“It is something else that could be covered by grants.”
Whitehall councillor David Foster has been trying to get a group together to look after the site when it comes under the council’s ownership.
He said: “In theory, what Steve has suggested would be a great idea.
“But I am not sure it would be viable commercially.
“To fill it up would require significant strengthening of the banking and I can’t see the council having the money to do that.
“At the moment they are just looking at making it a nature reserve, rather than heavy commercial use.”
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