Bramley Pond Clear Up Project

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Bramley Parish Council

Bramley Green Pond Improvements Initiative

 

Introduction

 

Bramley Green Pond is within the Conservation Area to the east of the village of Bramley.  The land is owned by the Stratfield Saye Estate and managed by Bramley Parish Council by agreement.

This document describes a project to improve the current poor state of the pond and surrounding area and seeks approval from B&DBC Conservation Control and Stratfield Saye Estate to carry out works to clear and tidy the area.

Background

Since 1965 management of Bramley Green, which is grassed common land, and the balancing pond, have been the responsibility of Bramley Parish Council. This transfer is supported by documentary evidence. The Bramley and Bramley Green Conservation Area was established in 1983.

Active responsibility for the grassed open area has been ongoing. The pond was given an overhaul in 2010, part funded through a Grant and partly managed by a team of volunteers. The costs for professional services were around £500, Stratfield Saye Estate carried out tree works, and in addition a team from BDBC Voluntary Services assisted with the cosmetic clear up. The surrounding trees have again grown out over the pond and there are some large branches/fallen trees laying in the pond. The site has deteriorated and requires another clean-up.

Objectives

This aim of this project is to tidy up the pond and surrounding area and remove debris. It will not remove healthy trees or pond silt but will examine the pond liner as much as practicable. There should be no adverse effect to either the few resident moor hens or newts (reported but not seen). Following professional clearance of the area by an appointed contractor, volunteers may be invited to make the area ‘prettier’, such as planting bulbs or attractive natural shrubs in keeping with the area, with permission from SSE. The idea of a bench may be revisited although it should be noted that the previous bench was thrown into the pond.

Constraints

    • Advice was sought from Reading University, Environmental Sciences Department in 2010, to protect any newts or other insect or amphibian life living in the pond. Newts are potentially present but have not been seen.  The silt in the middle of the pond is at least 1m deep and as long as this is not removed there will be no detrimental effect on newts as they will simply burrow down.
    • The clerk contacted the RSPB in 2011 after residents raised concerns about the Moorhens. The advice was that the moorhens could survive quite well with very little water. While they have not been encouraged to live at the pond site, they are not affected adversely by the dry periods when the balancing pond is empty.
    • At present the pond is very full. While this suggests the lining is performing as required, it might prevent the work from being carried out until it has drained a little in the dryer months.
    • The area on the other side of the mud track adjacent to the Green and Lane End is part of the main river network and is therefore managed by the Environment Agency. The ditching itself is on common land and the riparian land owner for it is Bramley Parish Council. A separate challenge will be for the Clerk to contact the Environment Agency about clearing the ditch and establish whether the parish council also needs to employ a contractor to carry out these works, or whether the Environment Agency are responsible.


Activities

In outline these are the major activities for the project

 

Activity

Responsibility

  1. 1.Setup Project

Cllr Malcolm Bell/Clerk

  1. 2.Gain approval of BPC, Conservation officers, and Stratfield Saye Estate to proceed

Cllr Malcolm Bell/Clerk

  1. 3.Negotiate with SSE about partnership working

Parish Clerk to enquire

  1. 4.Obtain quotes for carrying out the significant clearing and maintenance of the pond (and ditch?)

Parish Clerk

  1. 5.Removal of pond debris

Contractor subject to tender

  1. 6.Cutting back of trees and scrub around the pond

Stratfield Saye Estate, or possibly the contractors subject to tender

  1. 7.Removal of rubbish from site

Contractor or Stratfield Estate subject to who carried out the work

  1. 8.Investigate possible suitable measures to keep the water clearer – possibly oxygenating plants?

Clerk, to enquire and seek permissions

  1. 9.Recruit volunteers to help with making the area more attractive, after the debris has been removed, by permission of SSE. This to include planting attractive shrubs and bulbs if desired.

A bench may be considered, the cost of which would be met my Bramley Parish Council.

Cllr Malcolm Bell

Clerk via online promotions

Resources

As above

Funding

There is some funding within the Parish Council budget for this project.

Timescales

To be successful this project should complete by late summer 2013.

Conclusion

From the attached photographs there can be no doubt that to comply with Conservation Area guidelines the area of Bramley Green pond must be improved. 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, November 20, 2017