On Wednesday 6th July 2016 Buckinghamshire County Council Chairman, Val Letheren, unveiled a commemorative information board giving a new stretch of river in Aston Clinton the civic seal of approval.
It all marked the opening up of a tributary to Aylesbury’s Bear Brook, which has provided Aston Clinton with a changed landscape, solving a flooding problem, and giving a new habitat for wildlife and wild flowers.
The County Council Chairman unveiled the information board watched by a small group of local people, councillors and representatives of organisations that worked together on the project.
‘This is an absolutely fascinating project, and a brilliant example of organisations partnering to make things happen,‘ said the Chairman.
The new water course through Aston Clinton Park was needed because a 190 metre Victorian culvert had partially collapse and it was cheaper to dig a new channel than repair or replace the culvert.
Led by the County Council the work involving seven organisations started in August 2015 and water started flowing by the end of that month (see picture above).
Following successful monitoring in the past year, the river has been ‘signed off‘ and was ready for inauguration.
Netta Glover, Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: ‘This is an all-round success story not only for the enjoyment of local people, but also for the encouragement of flora and fauna in the shadow of our beautiful Chilterns.‘
Project leader Jessica Dippie said that in winter 2014 the County Council had investigated flooded football pitches, fields and footpaths in Aston Clinton Park, which turned out to be caused by a blocked Victorian culvert.
The County Council worked with the Environment Agency (EA) and other interested parties including the Parish Council, District Council, tenant farmer Richard Nicholls, Green Park activity centre and Natural England to excavate nearly 300 cubic metres of earth to create a new 185 metre stretch of open river to bypass the collapsed culvert.
This proved cheaper at £36,000 than replacing the culvert at a cost of nearly £53,000.
The culvert was built as part of a scheme in the mid-1900s by Constance Rothschild to divert natural spring water on the family estate to create a ‘magical’ Fairy Dell.
The information board was provided thanks to a donation of £1,000 from the Community Leader’s Fund of local County Councillor Bill Chapple.