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Volunteers hope to reinstate village pond

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A TEAM of Kenley volunteers is taking up shovels and spades to help restore the village pond, which has lain empty and full of rubbish for more than 40 years.

Mike Van Der Vord, who is in charge of conservation for the Kenley and District Residents' Association, decided the site, which lies on common land, needed to be scrubbed up after decades of neglect.

"Many of the residents who have lived here for a long time can remember the site as a dew pond," said Mr Van Der Vord.

"It's sad to see it so overgrown and covered in rubbish now, and it does sit at the entrance to Kenley, so it's not a very impressive welcome.

"I called a meeting about it with the residents' association and we all agreed something could be done.

"Our first meeting was on February 9, where we all cleared most of the wild vegetation that had grown out of control over recent years. Then, on March 2, we cut up an ash trunk which had fallen into the pond area some years ago into manageable sections.

"The team then made two basic benches from the trunk, which was 4ft in diameter. The benches now have pride of place by the side of the pond site."

The group had their most recent get-together last Saturday to continue the work and clear the site, at the junction of Hayes Lane and Old Lodge Lane, in preparation for the next stage of their plan.

A project officer from the Downlands Trust, a conservation charity, visited last Thursday to conduct a preliminary feasibility study to see if the project was possible. The trust has also suggested it may be able to help reconstruct the pond.

"Of course, we would need permission from the council to take the plan forward, but we're very confident there will be no objections to the idea," said Mr Van Der Vord.

"I have lived in Kenley for 30 years now and I've never seen it look anything other than completely overgrown which is just unnecessary."

A dew pond is artificially made and generally quite shallow, receiving its water mainly from rain rather than a stream source.


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