Emergency meeting held to stop a repeat of last week's scenes when hundreds of people turned up at Saddington Reservoir
High-level multi-agency talks have gone ahead at Saddington Reservoir after hundreds of people turned up there in last week’s mini-heatwave.
The Canal & River Trust, which runs the site, met the police, fire and rescue service, Harborough District Council officers and the new tenant of the sailing club on Wednesday.
The crisis meeting was staged after over 500 young people from across Harborough descended on the picturesque reservoir near Fleckney last Thursday.
Some people were jumping off the boathouse roof into the water as the thermometer nudged 30C (86F) on the hottest day of the year.
The astonishing incident was strongly condemned by angry Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council.
This week a Canal & River Trust spokesman said: “It was a good meeting and everyone is committed to ensuring that the scenes we saw at the reservoir last week aren’t repeated.
“Saddington Reservoir is a beautiful place to unwind by the water.
“And, as it’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it’s great for getting closer to nature so we don’t want to deter people from visiting, we just want them to do so responsibly.”
He added: “There are a range of options which we hope will encourage respectful behaviour at the reservoir, make it easier for action to be taken against unlawful activity and ensure that emergency measures are in place should they be needed.
“We’ll be looking into these options in more detail over the coming weeks.”
The organisation is exhorting young people to show common sense after Cllr King warned that someone “will be seriously injured or killed” at Saddington Reservoir.
“Ultimately we’d hope that people can take more personal responsibility and behave more sensibly on site.
“But the options we’ve discussed today will ensure we’re better equipped should there be a repeat of what we saw last week,” said the Canal & River Trust.
Cllr King told the Harborough Mail last week: “Young people are playing with fire indulging in this sort of insane behaviour – and they are taking their lives in their hands.
“The water’s very cold and they could go into shock after leaping in.
“It’s dirty and they could easily pick up a nasty infection, such as the really horrible Weil’s disease.
“So the bottom line is this – if you value your life don’t risk it.”
The Conservative council chief also warned that huge public gatherings risk sparking a second wave of deadly coronavirus.
“It’s sheer madness.
“These party-goers get together with no social distancing at all before rolling home to see their parents, families and older relatives,” said Cllr King.
“If only a tiny minority of them are sick then before we know it we’ll be tackling another shattering local outbreak of the virus.
“And that would be devastating – for the local economy, for the NHS and, most of all, for families as the death count goes up once more.”