SLOPPY administration means a council’s plan to dredge Canvey Lake has been held up.

Last summer, Canvey Town Council contracted Norfolk-based Jex Plant UK Limited to undertake a study of the lake ahead of the dredging, which is being done to make the shallow waterway a better habitat for fish.

As part of the study, the contractor was supposed to check if the lake’s silt is contaminated. If it is, the earth will have to be disposed of specially.

The authority has now received the report back, but the soil has not been tested.

Dave Blackwell, chairman of the council’s finance committee, said: “I don’t blame Jex one bit, the problem was a lack of communication from our clerk John Burridge at the time. I don’t know why it happened, but it’s not a big issue.

“It’s only a case of pushing a container into the silt and sending it off for samples. It could be done in about three weeks.”

Mr Burridge was relieved of his duties as clerk in early October last year, following worries about the hours he was keeping due to his long commute from his home in Denham, Suffolk.

Mr Blackwell said the £1,000 lake study was paid for by the Oysterfleet Hotel, which is supporting regeneration plans for the lake.

The town council has come in for criticism for the slow progress it has made since taking over management responsibility for the waterway from Castle Point Council in early March last year.

The authority hopes to spend up to £1million on improvements.

Residents have complained it remains an eyesore, after armchairs and supermarket trolleys were spotted floating in the lake last week.

However, John Anderson, the council’s chairman, said other works would still go ahead, such as clearing the lake of rubbish, cutting back the reeds and resurfacing the Denham Road car park, which is strewn with potholes.