LOCAL residents were joined by their MP, Nick Herbert, to celebrate the completion of a flood management project at Burton Mill Pond recently.
The proposals initially caused local outrage with harsh designs that would have disfigured the landscape, but following strong representations to West Sussex County Council, a new and sympathetic design has met with acclaim in the local community.
Burton Pond adjoins Burton Park, which includes Chingford and the Trout Pond and is a grade 2 listed landscape. The site is a particularly beautiful part of the South Downs National Park and is home to a wide range of wildlife. The original civil engineering works did not take into account the environmental importance of the area or the additional need to restore Chingford Pond and de-silt Burton Mill Pond.
Residents invited Mr Herbert, to see the site in April and explained their concerns about the original scheme. Mr Herbert agreed to back their call for the works to be suspended until a better scheme could be devised. Local county councillor Michael Brown worked with residents on a range of soft landscaping features to ensure that the final work was in sympathy with the rural landscape.
Residents living close to the pond, and many of those involved with the project, came out to celebrate the completion of the dam, spillway and weir. A new decking area has also been built, which covers the weir and provides a viewing spot overlooking the pond.
Neville Farrington, a local resident who played a key role in the local campaign to improve the project, led celebrations on the new decking. He thanked all those who had a part to play in the works, including the architects, West Sussex County Council, construction workers and residents.
He said he remained concerned that this Site of Special Scientific Interest should be properly maintained.
Nick Herbert said: “It was a pleasure to be invited back to Burton Mill Pond and to see that the concerns of the local community had been acted on.
“All credit goes to Neville Farrington and local residents for fighting effectively to protect this beautiful part of West Sussex, to county cllr Mike Brown for taking up the cause, and Guy Bell of West Sussex County Council for responding with revised plans.
“This is an exceptionally beautiful site and work has been completed with least damage to the environment.”