Concern as ancient Midhurst site 'sinks into weeds'

Midhurst’s South Pond, once the domain of Earls and Lords, has been neglected to the point it has become a ‘shadow of its former self’ despite the best efforts of a team of volunteers, it has been claimed.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 10:19 am
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 10:20 am

District councillor Gordon McAra said that neglect and under funding’ are the cause of the decay of the much-loved spot.

He also said the hard work of The South Pond Group, which looks after the site, is ‘not being backed up’ by Chichester District Council (CDC), which owns the site.

He said: “I’m getting very concerned about the state of the South Pond area. Although the volunteer South Pond Group does a brilliant job it is not being backed up in the big jobs by CDC, the owners of the site, and help from the National Park has not been great.

A 'lost view' according to cllr Gordon McAra (insted)

“The group has been trying to get the badly overgrown wild flower area by the Grange cut back, this despite many promises of action but no result.

“Similarly, the group needs help in chemically cutting back beds of dense sweet reed grass but needs professional help to do so.

“Over the past decade, South Pond has been subject to ignorance, experimentation, neglect, under funding and the result is one of the town’s iconic locations is now a shadow of its former self. As district councillor, I have written to the cabinet member at CDC asking her to get involved in helping the town to rectify some of the past mistakes.”

A district council spokesman said: “South Pond is a vital green space and wildlife area for residents in Midhurst and we have always appreciated the hard work that the dedicated volunteers of the South Pond Group do, and we have worked with them very closely over the years.

“We are aware of the work that needs doing, but unfortunately due to the pandemic this year our grounds maintenance staff have had to support our waste collection teams instead as a result of staff shortages.”

"The pandemic has meant that we have had to prioritise waste collection. We have carried out essential maintenance work around the pond, but we know that there is still some seasonal catch-up work and some larger jobs to do, and we hope to carry these out during the winter months.

“We are committed to working with the group to provide a welcoming environment for visitors and wildlife.”