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During the heat of last summer, the water in Ashtead Pond virtually disappeared, leaving fish gasping and floundering on the surface of the black silt. Then worrying growths of blue-green algae colonised the exposed silt and the whole surface became smelly and toxic.

The greatest worry was that children could fall in and drown in the sloppy deep mess. I therefore insisted that the Council cordon off the area and dredge the basin so that we could get deeper water back into the pond. Over 200 tons of silt were removed but it was not possible to take it all away with the budget allowed.

I also asked for the scrub and brambles and remaining reeds, sedges, and willows to be removed, and for the trees to be pollarded. The Tree and Countryside Manager of MVDC was very helpful and this was all carried out to plan.

The very good news is that we have now secured Council funding to carrying on dredging this year. Hopefully, most of the remaining deep silt can now be taken away and we can expect a greater volume of water accumulating in the basin.

With the trees severely pollarded, the pond’s future looks brighter than before. The waterfowl have already decided to come back, and we can look forward to getting back our lovely village pond once more.

But remember to feed the birds with peas and sweetcorn and not bread!

Councillor Patricia Wiltshire


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