A row has broken out over the state of Westham Pond after dead fish and water snakes were discovered floating in thick green sludge.
Westham Parish Council, which is responsible for the pond, says it is doing all it can to resolve the problem but environmentalists say there has been no proper ecological maintenance and residents claim there is a blockage stopping water from running into the pond from nearby Springfield Close.
The alarm was raised over the weekend by visitors who were also concerned at the thick green sludge in the pond in Mortain Road.
Westham Village Conservation Group (WVCG) is also involved and says it has made representations to the parish council which “have fallen on deaf ears”.
A WVCG spokesperson said, “Many local residents are understandably upset about the deteriorating ecological health of the pond. The key to solving the pond problem is getting the council to take swift, decisive action, based on sound ecological advice in order to restore the pond to good health as quickly as possible.”
Eastbourne and district Friends of the Earth says the council should take up the offer of a professional ecologist with knowledge of the local area, and of the pond in particular, who offered his services free of charge some months ago to the council to design a new management strategy which would gradually restore the pond to good health.
The group’s Andrew Durling said, “It is my understanding that over the last three years the council has been repeatedly asked to improve the quality of the pond. A one-off survey commissioned by the parish council in 2016 recommended a range of possible remedial actions. Apparently none of the actions were implemented.
“Hopefully the parish council will learn from the drastic deterioration of the pond and an effective management plan will be drawn up.”
A parish council spokesperson said it understood the problem was a result of the severe heat and lack of rain which caused the water level and oxygen levels to fall in the pond.
“We have removed the dead fish and installed a temporary underwater pump to help restore the oxygen levels until it rains heavily again. In recent years the council has carried out extensive works to the banks, monitored the water quality and the pond remains part of its regular maintenance contract. The water quality is due to be tested again shortly and if any action is needed councillors will consider doing so.”