Joy as 10-year project to refurbish Bishop’s Waltham pond is complete

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A 10-YEAR project to refurbish a popular pond was officially completed on Saturday – much to the joy of workers.

Bishop’s Waltham residents gathered to see the new viewing area of the North Pond, off Station Road.

Winchester Mayor, Councillor David McLean, at the official opening of the new viewing area at North Pond

Winchester Mayor, Councillor David McLean, at the official opening of the new viewing area at North Pond

Since 2008, the conservation group has been working hard to organise the new site which now has benches, grass and flowers, an information board on the project, and a plaque.

Before, the area was mainly trees and the pond would dry up in the summer.

Now it can be enjoyed by people in the town and specialist work means the pond will always have water in it.

Barry Jerome is chairman of the Bishop’s Waltham North Pond Conservation Group.

It is great to see that support and as we’ve been carrying out work, people walking past have been saying how great it is to see the pond

Barry Jerome

He said: ‘It is a lovely feeling to see it all come together.

‘We have had a lot of help from groups and individual residents who have contributed donations as well as their time helping with the site.

‘The project itself cost around £32,000 and £8,000 was donated by individuals who dug deep to help fund the project.

‘It is great to see that support and as we’ve been carrying out work, people walking past have been saying how great it is to see the pond.’

Around 30 people gathered at the water’s edge to hear from Barry about the project and see the mayor of Winchester, Councillor David McLean, unveil the plaque.

The workers who have helped with the project over the past 10 years, were thanked and given a round of applause.

Alan Inder, founder of the working group, said the North Pond was really important to Bishop’s Waltham and was delighted with the makeover.

‘In 2008, this area was covered in woods and you couldn’t even see the pond.

‘The council did a residents survey that said the North Pond was the most important environmental asset of the town but was the one that needed investment.

‘The parish council set up the working group and we went from there.’

The working group now owns two thirds of the pond and has become a charity to make sure they can continue to look after the site.

Barry said they should have enough money to maintain the site for the next 25 years.