South Pond correction work begins

Following anger in Midhurst last year over the controversial restoration of South Pond, the first phase of work to correct planting will begin on Monday (January 30).

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The giant reeds at South PondThe giant reeds at South Pond
The giant reeds at South Pond

More than 600 people signed a petition calling for a public debate on the restoration work including giant reeds which blocked the view of the water. It was eventually held in December.

The first phase of correction which should take a week, will include removing reeds and silt.

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Restoration work was carried out by Chichester District Council (CDC), who own the pond, the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and the South Pond Group, made up of volunteers.

At the public meeting the SDNPA admitted mistakes had been made with the planting and these would be fixed.

Reeds and silt will be moved to the north east corner of the pond, and other sites as necessary, said an SDNPA spokesman.

There would be a second phase of spraying or cutting later this year to remove those reeds that could not be reached by machinery. The entire northern edge would be monitored and further action, such as cutting and spraying, would take place if necessary on any regrowth, she added.

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The work is expected to cost around £6,600 to be met by SDNPA and CDC.

Andrew Lee, director of countryside and policy for the SDNPA, said: “We want this project to meet the needs of wildlife and the people of Midhurst who love the pond. Nature takes time to adjust but in due course we can look forward to a place where grandparents enjoy taking their grandchildren out for walk and local school children can discover a variety of wildlife.”

Cllr Roger Barrow, CDC cabinet member for contract services said: “We are really pleased the project is moving forward in the right direction and residents will soon start to see a difference. We want to continue to support this project so the whole community can benefit from, and enjoy, this much loved community pond.”

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