Gosport ponds drained as work to clear silt begins

Work at Walpole lake last year
Work at Walpole lake last year
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson

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WORK is being carried out to clear two ponds in Gosport of rubbish, silt and weeds despite money being spent to clear the waterways last year.

Both the lakes at Walpole Park, near the town centre, have been emptied while the clean-up is carried out. It is expected to last four weeks.

I don’t really understand how they get so dirty and I thought the money spent by the council last year would have stopped this

Craig Wallace

But people living in the area have raised questions as to why the waters need to be cleaned again when Gosport Borough Council spent £100,000 last year on improving the lakes.

Craig Wallace, who lives next to the ponds, said: ‘The council did a massive project last year on improving the water circulation between the ponds to help with the water quality. I was surprised to wake up one day this year and see them empty.

‘I don’t really understand how they get so dirty and I thought the money spent by the council last year would have stopped this.’

His wife, Jenny, agrees. She added: ‘I understand that the ponds get smelly in the summer because of all the swan faeces but I thought last year’s work was looking to resolve that.

‘It seems a shame that just as swans were coming back to the ponds that they have had to be drained.’

As previously reported in The News the council spent £100,000 last January on clearing the lakes. The project included the blocking of the contacting outlets between the lakes and pumping water to the estuary from the north pool. Silt and rubbish from the north pool was also cleared.

Paul Brooks, who visits Walpole Park regularly with his grandson, said last year’s scheme did very little.

‘I don’t remember much being cleared from the ponds last year,’ he said.

‘Something more obviously needs to be done if the council is having to drain the lakes every year to clear them.’

A spokeswoman from the council said: ‘As part of the works undertaken during 2015, Natural England gave the council consent for an annual drain down of the lakes, which can only be taken before the end of March.

‘The council had planned to remove the detritus materials within the pond as ongoing maintenance as part of the restoration of the lakes.’

She added that tube worm casts are also being removed at the same time.