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THIS WEEK ** BREAKING: New Pevensey & Westham Pre-school to close


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To letters page

If there are any parish councillors who find dealing with the pond too much trouble then they should stand down and let more community minded people take their place

It appears Pevensey Bay Life knows that Jo and I – and Keith Stevens – Gerry Garner and Alf Lovell, members of the parish council, gave an interview to Radio Sussex. We did not get to hear what they all said until the afternoon – on catch up.

We actually agree with much of what they said – about the heat wave this summer etc. leading to the low water levels – it is just common sense. What worries us is – do they realise that if the silt – 76cm plus in the west end of the pond and in the east end as shown by what is on the bank when the men from Chaffins have been in the water- had not been there that the water capacity of the pond would have been such as to avoid such low water levels?

We talked about the fact the trees have not been pruned for a number of years and small branches are breaking off as well as the leaves and entering the pond. Also that the vegetation on the banks is just left to die and rot and fall into the water.

Our question is do they realise WHY the silt is there and has accumulated so rapidly since any proper maintenance has not taken place – about five years at least. It is ,of course, the remains of years of leaves and vegetation which should have been cleared on a regular basis. They said that the Environment Agency were happy with the steps being taken but avoided mentioning that they have received an email from the EA recommending dredging to stop this happening in the future – we have a copy .

Even though this – and the tidying of the trees and banks – were resolved to happen in last months minutes they avoided in the interview giving any assurances on these matters. We are asked daily when is something going to happen – those 510 people who so willingly signed our petition are getting impatient and we are also asked , since it was mentioned in the Pevensey Bay Life`s rather colourful article, about having a ” Parish Meeting”. Huw Merriman MP explained all about this to Jo and myself but after what seemed like a positive response after last months parish council meeting the last email from Keith Stevens, chairman, seemed to be backtracking. We do not want, at this stage, to go down the route of calling a parish meeting and are waiting to see what happens at next Monday`s meeting but we feel a responsibility to everyone who signed that petition so really hope dates for both maintenance and dredging are set next Monday.We are hoping that every parish councilor takes the trouble to come and walk round ALL the pond before making any decisions.

We are not sure that the pump is actually helping anymore – as soon as it is switched on the heron arrives and helps himself to the fish attracted to the area around the pump – this happens every day when the pump is on. In fact the heron was there yesterday morning first standing on the pump and having breakfast and then on the No Fishing sign whilst digesting his catch. All three parish councillors were there at the time – waiting to be interviewed – but did they notice?

Why when I have asked Gerry Garner, when he is “monitoring” the pond, if he would walk to the Montfort Close end of the pond to look at the vegetation growing profusely in the silt has he always refused? This seems to be the parish councils approach to everything. Only deal with problems when absolutely forced to and ignore everything you possibly can that might prove difficult. Their favourite word is “defer”. The thing is unless forced, as at last months meeting, the deferral stays just that – deferred!! This could well be the reason that “abusive emails” have been sent to the parish council. They are too slow to respond and when they do so only admit to part of the problem. The time is took for them to put the – nearly – correct signage in the notice board about the blue green algae and there is still no signage on the fencing and no fencing at all of the silt at the Montfort Close end of the pond although they state that fencing is in place. It was us who notified the school and warned Chaffins of the dangers of the algae – not the parish council – it took them another week !

If we had not contacted the Environment Agency and therefore been kept informed by them on all fronts and sent this information on would the parish council have acted at all?

We have found and sent the parish council details of an archaeologist willing to take up a watching brief during the dredging and details of dredging companies. We are waiting to find out if either have been acted on since last months parish council meeting. Keith Stevens, chairman said he was waiting for the results of the silt samples – they were taken quite awhile ago so surely we will hear on Monday night?

If there are any parish councillors who find dealing with the pond – or any other problems – too much trouble then they should stand down and let more community minded people take their place. They put themselves forward to be elected , no one forced them, but certainly what everyone took away from last months meeting was the feeling that we were “trouble makers” especially from the councillor who called the people he is supposed to represent – CLOWNS. He really has no place on any parish council and should be ashamed of himself. It is incidents such as this and Gerry Garners refusal to view all of the pond and the totally apathetic attitude at the last parish council meeting that will lead to a vote of “no confidence” in this parish council.

We are hoping that somehow the parish council realise, and more importantly admit , that hot weather alone has not caused the silt – and that some rain is not going to make it disappear. The water level has actually only fallen by about 35cm – you can tell by the outlet pipe – and if there had been less silt – about 50-60cm – then in all probability the fish would not have died.

We wait to see what happens at the meeting on Monday 15th at 7-30pm at the Amenity Hall Stone Cross School. Please come and support us and the pond and the village of Westham.

Christine Fenner and Jo Belcher.