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BW Parish Magazine - October 2010

NORTH POND - WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING?

In the May 2010 issue of the Parish News I reported that the Working Group had produced the draft North Pond Project Plan, and that the Parish Council had approved it for consultation. The main bodies consulted were the landowners (Dukes Holdings Ltd, Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council), the Environment Agency and Portsmouth Water Company. All responded positively, with support for taking the plan forward.

Since then, a lot of work has been going on to find ways to implement the plan (which we are now calling the North Pond Improvement Plan as a more accurate indication of what we are trying to do). The following report covers the main areas of progress.

Grant Aid

Several possible sources of grant aid have been investigated, and some of them look quite promising. However, they generally require significant financial commitment from the main landowners (Dukes, and Winchester CC) and the Parish Council before the grant schemes can offer match funding (provided all the necessary criteria can be met). By the time this issue of the Parish News has been circulated, the Working Group hopes that good progress will have been made.

In the meantime a grant of £3000 has been obtained from the Environment Agency. This is to be used to clear an area of encroaching willow trees and scrub immediately north of the sluice between the North and South Ponds. The main purpose is to facilitate the rescue of fish by netting, when the North Pond dries out in summer. It will have the added benefit of opening up the view across the Pond from the main road by the filling station. The work is to be done before the Pond fills with water in late autumn.

Working Parties

It will be evident from past and present attempts that it is a long-winded process getting an improvement plan for the North Pond approved and implemented, with all the necessary consents and finances in place. While this tedious process is followed, members of the Working Group and other volunteers have been busy on the site, clearing dead and dying trees from areas near the footbridge in order to open up views across the Pond. These sessions have been organised by me and David Maclean, and we would like to thank all who have helped: Barry Jerome, Eric Birbeck, Pat Lambert, Jane Gentry, Ray Smith, Russell Parker and Tracy Conduct.

We intend to run these working parties every Saturday morning (starting at 10.00am) until the Pond fills with water again. If you would like to help, you would be very welcome. Remember to wear gardening gloves, and boots or stout shoes, and bring a bowsaw or loppers if you have them. As well as making an immediate impact to improve the appearance of the much-loved North Pond, these working parties are great fun too.

Public Meeting

The Working Group is organising a public meeting (to be hosted by the Parish Council) at 7.30pm in the Jubilee Hall on Wednesday 17th November. The main purposes of the meeting are:

Anyone who is interested in the North Pond is welcome to attend.

Alan Inder, Chairman, North & South Ponds Working Group