Local residents in Bury, West Sussex, who are angry about the removal of the much-loved beauty spot of Pill Pond at West Burton are staging a protest meeting at the site tomorrow, Friday 12th August, at 6pm.
Planning permission was granted this week for the destruction of the pond and letting the land return to marsh with a stream running through it.
The grounds for the application were stated as:
1. “Enhancement of the site’s biodiversity and ecological connectivity involving the removal of the online pond, reconnecting West Burton stream up and downstream of the dam, and restoring a biodiverse chalk stream with a low‐lying wet mini‐floodplain in place of the old pond.”
2. “Addressing downstream erosion of the public footpath by moving the course of the stream away from the edge of the path, allowing for wider path surface and a more resilient, well vegetated and biodiverse stream bank.”
Those who were against the proposal said that Bury Parish Council didn’t publicise the application (very widely) or consult with residents; that it couldn’t be justified on cost grounds, as simply removing parts of the infrastructure would achieve the same aim; that the historical context of the pond, possibly a source of water for nearby Bignor Roman Villa, was not being respected; that the footpath isn’t being undermined; and that the Environment Agency were not consulted, which they say is a legal requirement in such matters. Protesters claim Bury Parish Council are simply wishing to save costs in having to regularly dredge the pond, as they did in 2020.
The application was signposted on the Bury Parish Council website in May 2022.
The application, documents and letters of protest can be seen by entering the application number SDNP/22/02265/FUL on the South Downs National Park planning portal