Midhurst petition calls for public debate on ‘eye sore’ pond

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Restoration work at Midhurst’s South Pond has turned it into a ‘dangerous eye sore’ claim protesters.

Now a petition has been launched by campaign leaders Mel Bilham and Linda Bateson calling for a public debate on the future of the pond.

“We have tried talking to people, but they won’t listen and we keep being dismissed,” said Mel.

She said she was passionate about wildlife and the current state of the pond ‘is breaking my heart. The moorhens, most of the ducks and the king fishers have gone.”

She added: “The pond is not a pretty sight any more and it was always known as the jewel in Midhurst’s crown. The town is dying and this isn’t helping. The health issue is also horrendous. Many years ago I was one of the volunteers who cleared the reeds to get rid of the rats. Now the huge banks of newly planted reeds are providing nests and the problem is a hundred times worse. I wouldn’t let a child of mine anywhere near the pond now.”

Linda added: “The South Pond group says they have done all this for the wildlife, but they don’t want the ducks or the fish. Yet this has been fish pond for centuries. I used to walk through here thinking how lucky I was to live here and how it just makes me very cross.”

She said it was not even possible to see the water when sitting on the Grange side of the pond and was concerned the banks of reeds were also a danger to children.

“They come running down from the car park and can’t see the water’s edge because its covered in reeds and there could be a terrible accident.”

Linda and Mel are also concerned that children are running bare foot onto the newly created ‘silt island: “One day someone is gong to slip and go under the mud.”

They claim the pond water will never be clear until the source is cleared of debris and allowed to flow freely.

The petition is currently available to sign across the town in many shops.

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