Challenges and Threats

Two threats to the integrity of the site emerged in the late fifties, one to be realised in the next decade but the other not. The first and unsuccessful challenge was a proposal to build a new fire station on site. John Green recalled ‘there was a big rumour that they were going to build a new fire station here and they did actually get a bore hole in on the far side and it’s true we did (overnight) put water in.’ (laughter). ‘Wardy was the man behind that’. Jim Riman confirmed this. ‘They did test drilling but found sand. A.C. Lloyd also wanted to build but they found it was a flood plain.’

The saga of the Reservoir however was a longer, more difficult, even bitter one. It was a Leamington Borough Council proposal but the Committee were opposed. The seeds were sown in the early fifties with the Courier mentioning ‘a useful and ornamental reservoir to safeguard the town’s water supply’. (13th October 1950). By 1952 a compulsory purchase order for the land had been made while two years later the relevant Whitehall minister had given approval leading to public inquiries. The first cites a proposed £355,000 reservoir for Welches Meadows. The second of these was reported in the Coventry Evening Telegraph (6/10/55) as ‘Squire objects’ and refers to ‘an estrangement which has existed for many years between the Willes family of Leamington and the Corporation’.

 A view from behind the reservoir