A reservoir which has deteriorated in recent years could be bought by the community if the private owners decide to sell.

Aldenham Reservoir has been granted an asset of community value by Hertsmere Borough Council following a meeting earlier this month.

It means if owners Liberty Lake Leisure ever choose to sell within the next five years, the local community must be given an opportunity to put a bid together first over any private buyers for a period of six months.

Campaign group Save Aldenham Reservoir said it was "delighted" by the news.

The water levels at the reservoir have continued to decline in recent months and according to campaigner and Borehamwood councillor Dan Ozarow, are even lower than last summer.

A sluice has been open at the reservoir almost constantly since January 2020 because owners Liberty, which bought the reservoir for an undisclosed amount in 2016, claim pressure needs to be eased on the dam wall, which is more than 225 years old, following inspections.

As a result, so much water has been drained from the reservoir, it has caused Aldenham Sailing Club to leave and the historic reservoir generally looks very different - for the worse - to how it did just a few years ago.

Mahesh Gosrani, co-owner of Liberty, describes the reservoir as a "jewel in Hertsmere's crown" and said his family have "never had any intention to profit monetarily from the beautiful scenic reservoir" other than receive a "decent return" on its investment. Applications to develop around the site or on nearby land it also owns have not been backed by the council.

Mr Gosrani has previously stated the reservoir is not for sale describing it as a "family heirloom".

Becoming an asset of community value does not give any powers to force Liberty to do anything differently at the reservoir but it is a sign that Hertsmere Borough Council values the reservoir's social interest and wellbeing for the community.

The nomination for community value was made by Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council in July and approved at a borough council meeting on December 8.

Liberty Lake Leisure, via its solicitor, objected to the nomination in a letter dated in July, council documents say.