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Going Underground: soil and rock sampling kicks off transformation of Lakes Estate

Ground investigations have started on the Lakes Estate to deliver one of the greenest regeneration projects in the UK, with more than 200 low carbon council homes to be built on the site.

A giant 3.5 tonne rotary drilling rig will be used to collect samples of rock and soil from 16 locations around the Lakes Estate over the next few weeks. Nicknamed Perseverance by Milton Keynes Council teams, after the NASA rover that’s currently gathering rocks and soil on Mars, the 4 metre long rig (a full metre longer than its Martian namesake) will safely extract samples as deep as 40m meters underground.

Instead of taking years to return to an Earth laboratory like the Martian soil, the Lakes Estate material will be immediately tested so that architects designing the 202 homes can best understand what’s needed for strong foundations.

Local residents have been advised that the essential drilling will take place during daytime working hours and will be completed as quickly as possible.

Milton Keynes Council has recently started the process to find a building company to construct the new Council homes, which are expected to be completed early in 2022.

Separate to the Perseverance investigations, play area improvements are also imminent at the Lakes Estate. The jungle-themed Grassmere play area will be first to be updated, with work following soon after at Fern Grove, Tummel Way and Laidon Close. The new play areas will feature lots of family-friendly activities including themed climbing frames, exercise equipment, and swings and roundabouts on a safe cushioned surface with nearby seating.

Cabinet Member for Adults and Healthy Communities, Cllr Emily Darlington said: “I am so excited to see equipment onsite as we take the next step towards building new homes for residents of Serpentine Court. The community has really come together to make this happen and they continue to inspire me every day.

“It was so interesting to see the earth coming up which shows that the Lakes Estate is actually built on an over 10,000 year old glacier lake.”


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