Pickmere Lake: Row develops over access

By Phil McCann & Rumeana Jahangir
BBC News

  • Published
Image caption,
A council plans to set up a fence to deter access to Pickmere Lake on hot weekends

A row has developed over access to a lake which has become popular with visitors and open water swimmers.

There have been reports of fights, poor parking and people using bushes as toilets at Pickmere Lake in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Police have now imposed a dispersal order this weekend, which allows them to remove people causing a nuisance.

They said they did not want to prevent visitors but urged them to "think about the impact of their actions".

Image caption,
Traffic and parking built up near Pickmere Lake in the recent heatwave

Swimming is not allowed in the lake but that has not deterred some users.

In June 2021, a 38-year-old man died after getting into difficulty in the water.

Some landowners have set up fences alongside their sections of a footpath around the lake, preventing entry into the water.

However the main access for visitors - who also use the lake for boat and paddle board trips - is on land owned by Pickmere Parish Council, which is due to fence off their part in the coming months.

The authority says gates in the fence will enable entry for most of the year but they will be closed before hot weekends as a deterrent.

The decision has not proved popular with some open water swimmers.

Barry Johnston, from the Chester Frosties group, said: "There is a nimby attitude in Cheshire villages, which means that people want to keep things for themselves."

However Simon Read, chairman of Pickmere Parish Council, said: "We have got to put our residents first. We've got make sure that the residents are protected and safe and the only way we can do that is to somehow stop people coming down to use this."

Insp Andy Baker, from Cheshire Police, said he wanted to "remind people who plan on attending Pickmere to do so with courtesy and to think about the impact their actions may have on residents".

"We certainly don't want to stop people from visiting but the actions of some who do attend can involve inconsiderate parking, which can also be dangerous if an emergency service needed to get to the area."

He said the police were "listening to residents' concerns and working with partners to find a long-term solution".

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