Neighbours’ anger as works create an ‘eyesore’ at Baffins Pond

WORKS The project taking place at Baffins Pond
WORKS The project taking place at Baffins Pond

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ANGRY neighbours say developers have turned a beauty spot into an eyesore.

Portsmouth City Council and the Environment Agency are filling in nearly a quarter of Baffins Pond in Baffins, Portsmouth, and using it to make a wetlands habitat for birds and other wildlife.

As part of the work trees near the pond have been taken down because dead leaves from branches have clogged up the pond and affected the quality of the water.

But the recent bout of bad weather has caused delays in shifting the debris, including mud excavated from the bottom of the river bed, away from the site.

A bulldozer also accidentally knocked branches off a willow tree near the pond during high winds.

Contractors have since paid to get the tree repaired.

Teresa Higgs, 65, of Hayling Avenue, Copnor, said: ‘The place is looking like an absolute eyesore.

‘The majority of the locals here didn’t want anything done to the pond.

‘I would have just been happy if the place had been given a tidy-up.’

Jonathan Hurst, 45, of Neville Road, Copnor, said: ‘A lot of the trees have been cut down and the place has been left in an atrocious mess.

‘The parties involved just seem to think they can do what they want.

‘It’s not right.’

Sally Harry, 57, of Jenkins Grove, Copnor, added: ‘I have spoken to a lot of the residents and none of them has got a good word to say about this.

‘A lot of people who live next to the pond have been there for most of their lives.

‘They don’t want to see a chunk of it removed.

‘They see it as their back garden.’

The work is part of a two- phase development of the site.

The first phase was completed three years ago when three wetland areas were installed at the east side of the pond.

Councillor Lynne Stagg, who represents the Baffins ward, said she understood neighbours’ concerns.

‘I admit that the pond does look like an eyesore at the moment,’ she said.

‘But once the work is finished the place will look much better.

‘The weather has caused some hold-ups but I’m hoping that the work will be completed in the next few weeks.

‘Though the pond is going to be smaller in size, the volume of water it holds will be exactly the same.

‘This is all about making the area a better habitat for wildlife.

‘Baffins Pond is more than just a pond.’

As previously reported, fishing is set to return to the pond next month after almost 20 years.

The council says it is reintroducing the sport because the water quality has improved.