WORK to repair the subsidence damage in Newbury’s Victoria Park will finally get under way this week.
Cracks started appearing in the park and surrounding area shortly after developer Costain conducted water extraction works when building the Parkway shopping centre’s underground car park in 2010.
The cracks damaged sporting facilities in the park, including Newbury’s historic bowls club lawns and a nearby nursery school, and some residents complained of damage in their homes.
A five-year legal battle over responsibility for the cracks ensued, with the town council racking up legal costs in excess of £150,000.
Earlier this year Costain agreed to pay the council a £600,000 out-of-court settlement, which included all legal costs, but stopped short of admitting any liability for the damage caused.
Newbury Town Council will use the majority of that settlement to restore the bowling club green and tennis courts to their former glory.
It will then start repairing the boundary wall and dam-aged footpaths and hopes to have the work completed by next summer.
As part of the works to repair the bowling green, the ley-landii trees on two sides of the green are to be removed.
The council says it has been advised that these trees are damaging the green and its surrounds and should be removed before money is spent repairing it.
Some of the beech hedging, on the bandstand side, will also be removed to allow access for machinery, but the council says it will retain as much of the hedging around the green as possible.
Works to remove the trees will start on August 17 and will take around nine days to complete.
Immediately after the trees have been removed, extensive repairs to the bowls club green will start, which includes com-pletely resurfacing it.
Fencing will also be installed to make the green visible from Victoria Park and spoil from the greens will then be used to fill other cracks around the park, including the football pitch.
The council says the bowling green should be back to competition standard in time for the new season next April.
In a statement issued this week, the council said: “The bowls club are looking forward to these works and improvements and have ambitious plans for the future of the club.
“They plan to buy new equipment to look after the restored greens and have ordered new sponsored shirts to promote Newbury Bowls Club.
“They hope to double their membership after the greens are restored and aim to recover their status as one of the top bowls clubs in Berkshire.
“The council looks forward to working with the club to make these aims a reality.”
The council will appoint Avonmore Associates, which specialises in the construction, management and maintenance of high-quality sports field surfaces, including bowling greens, to carry out the work.
Newbury Town Council leader Dave Goff said: “At last we can carry out the repairs needed in the park and all of these works should be completed by next summer.
“By removing the trees around the bowls club, not only will we protect the greens for the future, but we will also open up the club to the community and make it more accessible.
“Many people don’t even know we have a bowls club in the park.”