Petitioners are given hope of lake clean-up

Walter Smith presented the petition at Tuesday nights council meeting. Picture by Kate Shemilt
Walter Smith presented the petition at Tuesday nights council meeting. Picture by Kate Shemilt

Petitioners were given a glimmer of hope on Tuesday when councillors agreed to investigate the potential of dredging Brooklands Lake.

More than 1,500 residents called on Worthing Borough Council to urgently clean the attraction, claiming years of neglect had led to scores of birds being killed by toxic Blue Green Algae.

Although leader Dan Humphreys disagreed with the cause of the animals’ deaths, he admitted action was needed to bring the ‘asset’ up to scratch.

Presenting the petition to full council, Walter Smith, of Western Close, Sompting, said: “Nobody wants to see dead birds.

“It has been a shock to both residents and visitors to see suffering birds and carcasses floating in the water.

“It needs a thorough clean and a running maintenance programme to be in place.”

Mr Humphreys replied to the petition on behalf of cabinet member for environment Clive Roberts, who was on holiday.

He said he was advised by officers that the majority of wildlife deaths were caused by botulism as a result of people feeding birds bread.

He noted an estimated £1million would be needed to fully dredge the lake but he was keen to explore the possibility, working with partners such as Southern Water and the Environment Agency.

Councillors unanimously agreed to ask officers to bring a report to cabinet members. No timescale was confirmed.

Some Conservative councillors noted residents’ concerns that the issue had not been addressed in decades and said it was important to progress as quickly as possible.

Councillor Susan Jelliss, UKIP leader, said her grandchild loved visiting Brooklands but he would ‘love it even more’ if it was improved and enhanced.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Smith said: “Let’s hope that they are actually going to do something.

“This has been going on for years.”