BAD weather continues to hold up the redevelopment of a popular beauty spot in Portsmouth.
Part of Baffins Pond is being filled in and turned into a wetlands habitat for birds and other wildlife.
The work, which is being carried out by Portsmouth City Council and the Environment Agency, began in February and was due to be finished last month, as reported in The News.
But high winds and heavy rainfall have halted the work.
A digger remains stuck in the mud and a skip full of debris can’t be taken away until the weather improves.
Last week fences were put in place to ensure wildlife doesn’t get in while the work is carried out.
Neighbours have voiced their concerns, saying the weather shouldn’t be an excuse for the hold-up.
Roy Wiltshire, 65, of Neville Road, Copnor, said: ‘I’m completely mystified by it all.
‘In my eyes, blaming the weather for the hold-up isn’t a good enough excuse.
‘I was under the impression that diggers can work in all kinds of conditions.
‘The state the developer has left the pond in is terrible.
‘I have lived here for 30 years and this is the worst the pond has ever looked.’
Bob Godfrey, 47, who runs The Baffins Inn in Tangier Road, Copnor, with his wife Sonia, said: ‘The work seems to have stopped at the moment.
‘The council really needs to get a move on because the pond is looking like an absolute mess.
‘I don’t understand why they want to fill in more of the pond, it looks more like a big puddle now.’
David Saunders, 65, of Lichfield Road, Copnor, said the pond should have been left alone.
He added: ‘Baffins Pond is a pond.
‘It’s all very well looking after the wildlife but I don’t think an extra wetland area is going to attract more.’
Ryan Stockwell, 20, of Tangier Road, Copnor, said: ‘I’ve only seen a couple of people at a time working on the project.
‘A project of this size needs manpower and it needs to be done as quickly as possible to avoid disruption to the local community.’
Councillor Lynne Stagg, who represents Baffins ward, said she hoped for progress soon. ‘The situation hasn’t changed,’ she said. ‘The ground is sodden which means the digger can’t go anywhere.
‘I’m still hopeful that the work will be completed soon.
‘A lot of the residents just want Baffins Pond to be a garden-style pond.
‘A wetlands area may not look pretty but it makes for a rich habitat for birds and other wildlife.’
STAGE BY STAGE
THE work being carried out at the western side of Baffins Pond is creating two new wetland areas with gravel paths so people can walk around them.
The first stage of the project saw a number of trees being cut down near the pond because leaves from branches were clogging up the pond and affecting the quality of the water.
Almost a quarter of the pond was then filled in so the two wetland areas could be created.
Last month the areas were installed and now developers are looking to fill the land with more than 9,500 wetland plants.
This planting is expected to be completed by next week.
The work is part of a two phase redevelopment of the pond.
The first phase was carried out four years ago when three wetland areas with pathways were installed at the eastern side of the pond.