The area around Ashley Pond was degraded and in need of restoration; with cracked retaining walls, open railings that presented a danger to young children, a dilapidated bus shelter and seat, concrete paths, poor signage, self-sown willow trees and silted falling water levels in a pond that was dominated by invasive marginal plants, goldfish and ducks.

The Parish Council had high expectations of desired improvements, despite not providing any funding themselves. ELD responded with alternative drawings and cost estimates, to demonstrate which works could be achieved, within a range of different budgets, having obtained accurate rates from local contractors.  It soon became apparent that a large, dangerous, mature willow tree was drawing moisture from the pond causing water levels to drop, with major structural issues along retaining walls causing possible leakages. HandS issues related to open railings also required a review.

ELD completed the following works: Survey of trees to BS 5837; survey for great crested newts; obtaining approval to fell dangerous TPO tree; completion of Conservation Area consent application; public consultation/liaison with Parish Council; design of pond; design of new railings, engagement of structural engineer to review retaining walls and steps; review of HandS; cost estimating, specifications; contract tender; approval of contractor payments and finance and contract management. The contract involved the removal of fish and water (under licence), excavation and removal of spoil; importation and lining with blue clay; importation of secondary water (under licence), restocking with native fish, planting and turfing.

Challenges that were overcome: It soon became apparent that there were insufficient funds to complete all items requested by the Parish Council, or items identified by ELD as being in urgent need of attention, so prioritisation was required; the project was not deemed ‘big enough’ by many firms, resulting in challenges over procurement of tender rates for earth moving and digging out; re-tendering a revised package and subsequent delays to commencement were exacerbated by Council funding deadlines, which required project completion by March 2010. This resulted in works being undertaken at the wettest time of year, making the project more difficult to manage. Through discussion and liaison with local firms and the client, ELD value engineered the entire project to achieve the key elements of the original brief. This was completed within the fixed budget for construction and within the fixed fee quoted for design and project management.

At all times ELD kept the client and Parish Council informed, presenting to the Parish and at a public consultation exercise to villagers. The client, ECDC and local residents were pleased with the renovated pond.

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