Fleetwood kayak group left high and dry

A watersports day at Fleetwood's Marine Lake.
A watersports day at Fleetwood's Marine Lake.

Organisers of an acclaimed kayaking group have had to cease operations because of low water levels at Fleetwood’s Marine Lake.

And members of the Outdoor Adventure Group (OAG), which received a £50,000 Lottery grant to support its work with scores of youngsters in 2011, are unhappy with the reasons given by Wyre Council.

Members usually meet up every Friday evening, but for four weeks low water levels at the council-owned facility have scuppered activities. And they have had to cancel plans for the foreseeable future due to uncertainty.

Wyre Council says an unforeseen build-up of shingle is to blame and will soon be resolved.

The lake is usually filled once a month and is linked to tidal conditions via a control pipe.

But OAG members, who hire the facility from Wyre for £3,000 a year, believe the low levels have been caused by delayed maintenance work.

John Meredith, OAG secretary, told the Weekly News: “We just want to be informed what is happening because this is badly affecting our current activities and plans.

“We have been left high and dry. The frustrating thing is that we have not been given a straight answer.

“We run sessions for other groups, such as the Sea Cadets, Scouts, Guides and disabled groups. We’ve had to cancel them because we have no idea when the water levels will be back to normal.

“I’ve chased the council and I’ve been given different answers from different people.”

Fleetwood Nautical Campus , which also uses the lake and pays more than £10,000 a year to hire it, has also had to cancel a number of courses over the past three weeks.

Joe Bottomley, head of offshore operations at the campus, said: “We understand there has been a build up of sand.

“We are all seafarers and understand that when you are dealing with 20,000 tons of sand being pushed around by the sea, it isn’t easy.”

However, he said that the situation needed sorting out, and added: “We do need to look at the filling arrangements and that is something we will be taking to in private with Wyre Council.”

A Wyre Council spokeswoman said: “The problem with the lake is not related to the annual removal of sand and litter, which took place in December as normal.

“A large bank of sand and shingle has formed at the lake’s intake valves, which blocks them, preventing the inflow of sea water used to top up the lake’s water levels.

“The shingle bank makes it difficult to maintain the correct water levels.

“We have moved material from the ends of the pipe but it quickly reforms.

“The long-term solution is to move the end of the shingle bank, but because this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, we need approvals and a special marine licence, which takes several months to obtain.

“The council received this licence on Monday and provisionally planned to start the work next week.

“Once it’s done it should only take a couple of days to refill the lake.

“This can only be done on the monthly high tide, which is at the end of June.”