Call to clean up lake algae

Coun Joan Maslin takes a close look at the algae in the ornamental lake
Coun Joan Maslin takes a close look at the algae in the ornamental lake

CALLS have been made to clear up a lake at a controversial landmark that is covered in algae.

Residents of Oakerside Park, in Peterlee, are calling for a clean-up after algae took over the surface of the lake that was created as part of the Apollo Pavilion artwork in Sunny Blunts.

Councillor Joan Maslin, who represents the area on Durham County Council and lives close to the structure, said she had taken several calls from neighbours complaining about the state of the lake.

Coun Maslin said: “It’s like a thick green stinky soup.

“Peterlee Show is coming up soon, so no doubt it’ll be cleared by then.

“But why should people have to look at this? It’s so filthy.

“From what I can gather, it’s been getting bigger and bigger over the last few weeks.

“There seems to be a problem and there isn’t a proper flow.There’s rubbish in there as well, it’s disgraceful.”

Coun Maslin is known for her opposition for the artwork and once wrote to the Jim’ll Fix It and Challenge Anneka television programmes asking for help to dismantle the concrete structure.

She once suggested the Army could blow it up and she has written to the council asking for a clean-up operation to be carried out.

Keith Parkinson, the authority’s streetscene manager, said: “The algae on the surface of the lake is caused by the high nutrient content of the water and is exacerbated by the sun.

“The renovation of the pavilion in 2009 included the introduction of a reed bed and other plants, which we hoped would help to control the algae.

“Although this has reduced how often we need to clean the lake, the algae is still a problem.

“We will be cleaning the lake again this week but we are also working with the council’s ecologists to explore how we can improve the situation in the longer-term.”

Work to improve the water feature was carried out alongside the award-winning £450,000 revamp of the artwork, which takes its name from the space mission and was designed by Victor Pasmore, who was involved in the development of the new town in the 1960s.

Areas around the piece were re-cobbled, murals were restored, lighting was renewed and a staircase was reinstated to the structure so visitors can reach its upper level and look on to the water and surrounding estate.

It came after years of campaigning from supporters of the scheme to preserve the pavilion after it had attracted vandals and antisocial behaviour.