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Update on the pond from Stephen Harding, Parish Councillor - 10th August 2021
As I write this at the beginning of August the pond restoration project is nearing its finish. The planting at the pond has just been completed, but will take several months to become fully established, new benches and a life buoy are on order and bench bases are about to be constructed. The floating island is under construction and the duck house is being repaired by the Men’s Shed: it was in a very sorry state. Until all is finished, the area will remain fenced off to give the grass a chance to take properly and allow the whole area to settle.
The project has not been without problems being encountered along the way. First, there was Covid and the lockdown which struck just as a fund-raising drive was under way putting activities on hold. Then, when the project finally started and the pond was being excavated, a second inlet was found which nothing was known about. The outlet was blocked where the pipe had collapsed and, in another place, had been badly repaired by a utility company allowing the merest trickle of water to escape. The levels of the inlet and outlet we're all wrong so the pond could never fill properly. And then there was the weather. In the beginning it was dry then as the work proceeded it was wet. Torrential rain filled the pond just after the chalk base had been put in which put the project behind schedule whilst the water was pumped out for the second time. All being well, the project will be finished by the end of August, although it may be a little while before work on the duck house is complete and it can take its place on island in the pond.
We are now planning to maintain the pond looking at its best and develop it as an asset to the village. One of the requirements from the Borough Council grant towards the project is that we have a plan to show how we are going to look after their investment over the coming years. I'd like to see a group of volunteers keeping an eye on the day-to-day life of the pond. The Friends of Oakley Pond would be a self-supporting group looking after the interests of the pond, maintaining a diary of how the pond looks and liaising with the community and Parish Council to keep the pond at its best and the central focus for the village. If you are interested in becoming a Friend of Oakley Pond, please contact me. The Parish Council is organising a raffle to raise money to support the pond over the coming years and tickets can be obtained from the Parish Clerk at 87a Oakley Lane on (dry) Wednesday afternoons between 3:00pm and 4:00pm (starting tomorrow, 11th August) and will be on sale outside One Stop and the Coop on Saturday mornings. There are many, many prizes so you stand a good chance of winning something. The draw will be made as part of the opening ceremony for the pond on 19th September at 3:00pm to which all are welcome.
I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed in some way to enabling this project to come to fruition. It really shows a strong community spirit lives in the village. I'd also like to thank Simon Warner and his team for the fantastic job they have made of refurbishing the pond.
Parish Council Environment working party.