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Neighbours hit out over dwindling wildlife in a neglected pond

PUBLISHED: 14:29 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:29 12 February 2020

A group of neighbours are casting blame on a local council after wildlife at a pond has dwindled as a result of ten years of ‘neglect’. Photo: Matthew Nixon

A group of neighbours are casting blame on a local council after wildlife at a pond has dwindled as a result of ten years of 'neglect'. Photo: Matthew Nixon

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Neighbours are calling for more action from a local council after wildlife in a popular pond dwindled, which they say is a result of ten years of 'neglect'.

More than fifteen neighbours met at the pond in protest of its current state. Photo: Matthew NixonMore than fifteen neighbours met at the pond in protest of its current state. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Residents of Jenkins Green, in Lowestoft, say their communal pond has not been maintained properly, leaving water to become contaminated and reeds to overgrow.

Peter Leigh, who has lived near the pond for eighteen years, said: "It's an important wildlife haven, but we're losing it. Every week you read something about ponds and lakes disappearing and this is how."

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "It used to look really nice, and now it's gone down the drain. It's a shame. It was one reason I chose to live here, now it's gone."

Neighbours say the pond was home to a number of ducks, herons, kingfishers, geese and terrapins.

Rose Knight said nearby pathways were also unsafe, with puddles and fallen branches all across the ground. Photo: Matthew NixonRose Knight said nearby pathways were also unsafe, with puddles and fallen branches all across the ground. Photo: Matthew Nixon

"One day I counted as many as 77 ducks. Now you're lucky if you get 13 or 14," said Rose Knight.

"The council has forgotten we exist. They take our council tax but don't do anything."

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Another neighbour raised the issue of the pond and nearby "dangerous" trees with Waveney Norse, the company that works on behalf of the council, who admitted in a letter the trees do "require some work" but were not urgent.

Neighbours claim the 'overgrown' reeds at the pond are now blocking a flood drain. Photo: Matthew NixonNeighbours claim the 'overgrown' reeds at the pond are now blocking a flood drain. Photo: Matthew Nixon

The apparent lack of action caused the community to take upkeep into their own hands.

"Nobody else would have done it," said Douglas Gouch, nicknamed 'the duck man', who maintained the pond himself.

"Kids play here and the safety fence is falling over, and reeds are blocking the flood drain. I'm worried."

John Sarbutt, said: "I'm annoyed the council can spend this money on that great building they sit in, and can't afford to tidy the pond for wildlife."

Douglas Gouch, nicknamed by his neighbours as ‘the duck man’,  used to maintain the pond himself. Photo: Matthew NixonDouglas Gouch, nicknamed by his neighbours as ‘the duck man’, used to maintain the pond himself. Photo: Matthew Nixon

A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said: "We recognise the concerns of residents and can confirm that work is underway under the guidance of an ecologist from East Suffolk Norse.

"Primarily the issues are around overgrowth and the ecologist is content that the instructed tasks are sufficient for the condition of the pond and surrounding area.

"This work includes the reduction of gorse bushes and brambles, the strimming back of areas of open grass and reshaping two mature oaks and 'deadwooding' all trees where necessary."

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