Hemel Hempstead Park could be rerouted to the river to limit flooding under new plans

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The River Gade could be partially rerouted through a Hemel Hempstead park in a bid to combat flooding, new plans have revealed.

Dacorum Borough Council has submitted plans through JBA Consulting to realign part of the Gade River which would see the river return to a more natural position passing through Gadebridge Park.

Plans indicate that a new 10m wide meandering channel will be created through the park from downstream of White Bridge to the Queensway culvert.

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The council began consulting on the proposals in 2017, and the planning permission application appeared on its planning portal on January 24.

A planning statement submitted as part of the application describes the need for development, saying human intervention has created a channel “too wide and frequently perched” which has led to fine sediment spreading to the sides from the river.

The application says this has resulted in heavy vegetation growth along the banks, which can creep into the channel and narrow the river, and now requires “ongoing maintenance”.

As water pours into the park, water can get trapped in the floodplain, which is why residents may see flooding in the park.

The developers say there had been an option to completely realign the river by moving the channel to a natural position, but partial realignment was selected as the preferred option.

This would move the river closer to its natural position, while keeping the northern part of the park unaffected for hosting events and without impacting the bowling club or current parking spaces.

The planning statement concludes: “The project concerns a partial realignment of the River Gade through Gadebridge Park to improve the long-term natural condition of the canal through the park.

“Furthermore, the project enhances the contribution of the river to the amenity and recreational value of the park as well as the entire river corridor.

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The developers presented a number of proposals, but chose option 2A for a partial realignment

“Furthermore, the project increases the resilience of the river and surrounding floodplain with respect to the future impact of climate change and while maintaining water quality during periods of low flows.”

The claimant said any negative impacts during construction would be “temporary and short-term” and would be outweighed by program benefits.

Residents can comment on the project (REF:22/00143/MFA) until February 14, and a decision on the plans is expected at a meeting of the Borough Council’s Development Management Committee on March 31.

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