Water leak threat to new dog park near Penicuik

The owners of a new dog park are battling to open its doors after spending thousands of pounds trying to stop a mystery water leak at its entrance.

The entrance to the site.
The entrance to the site.

Caroline Wilson and her partner Keith Froude set up The Stackyard Park – Run Free Dog parks, in fields that have been used by their family for 23 years outside Penicuik.

But while preparations for the new business are almost complete they are concerned a groundwater leak which creates sheet ice on the sloping entrance to their site in winter and floods when it rains will become a problem for visitors.

The couple have spent thousands of pounds putting in hard-standing on the shared drive, which is used by Scottish Water to access a waste treatment facility next to the driveway, and digging trenches to try and divert the stream of water which appeared after land next to it was used as landfill a number of years ago.

Despite the heatwave temperatures hitting the site, at Milkhall Road, this week a small stream of water could be seen continuing to pour down the drive on Thursday as the thermometer hit the high 20s.

Keith said: “Even in these dry conditions the water is pouring out of the ground, and when it rains it turns the access road into a stream.”

The couple fear a new housing development at the former Wellington School site next door will only add to the problems as more demand for water supplies and sewage facilities are needed.

The development will see nearly 50 new houses built on the site.

Caroline said: “We have been told by Scottish Water the leak is not coming from their pipes but they have so far offered no help towards solving the issue.

“And we would expect they will have to upgrade the facility when new houses are built.

“No-one seems to take responsibility for the leak which appears to be ground water and we fear that in winter when it becomes sheet ice or snow we will have to close our doors.

“We have worked so hard to get the dog park ready to open but are really worried that without a solution to this leak we will have problems.”

Mum-of-one Caroline (43) appealed to Scottish Water who require access to the drive and developers planning to build houses on the school site to respond to the couple’s pleas to find a solution to the leak.

Scottish Water said it had tested the water which was leaking at the site and determined it was ground water and not treated water.

A spokesperson said: “It is currently unclear who owns this access track and is responsible for its’ maintenance. We are speaking to City of Edinburgh Council, who we believe previously owned the school, on how they view ownership of the track.

“We are only able to carry out maintenance on access roads which we are responsible for. We understand the concerns of the other access track users and will continue to work to find out who is responsible for maintenance of the track.”

The couple’s bid for a dog park at the site was initially rejected by Midlothian planners but overturned on appeal after councillors were told they had received around 50 letters of support for the plans.