Council finally agrees to pond management strategy at Westham

Michael Haffner took this photograph on September 20 2018 of more than 20 dead fish floating in Westham Pond SUS-180920-160018001
Michael Haffner took this photograph on September 20 2018 of more than 20 dead fish floating in Westham Pond SUS-180920-160018001

A plan to tackle the deteriorating state of Westham Pond was finally agreed this week after an angry showdown between villagers and parish councillors.

At the start of Westham Parish Council’s meeting on Monday night, a 500 signature petition was presented to the local authority calling for urgent action to be taken to clean up the pond which is in such a poor condition that fish have died, the water is an unhealthy colour, sediment has built up and an inlet feeding it – which has not been discovered recently – remains blocked.

Villagers say their calls for action have fallen on deaf ears and nothing has been done but the parish council insists it has been monitoring the water quality, carried out extensive works to the banks in the past and the pond remains part of its regular maintenance contract. The protestors – in association with the Eastbourne Friends of the Earth group – said they wanted the parish council to “now stop side-stepping and deferring the issue, adopt a management plan, and act to reduce the fish, ducks, bread and sediment, and improve aquatic plants and water feed”. They say the pond is a health hazard and has never looked so unkempt.

After almost 90 minutes of debating, the majority of the councillors agreed to look at implementing a management strategy for the pond which could gradually restore the pond to good health and said it would start looking at costs.

After the meeting Christine Fenner said, “The parish council has an awful lot of our money in the bank but can`t be bothered or simply does not know how to move forward. They could at least remove the rubbish and the bike from the pond – some of the rubbish may well be dead animals or ducks. The silt has now moved past the island towards the village hall.”