The Millennium Pond project






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This was a Millennium project to convert a small piece of waste ground beside the Winterborne into an area designed to attract wildlife and improve the appearance of the village centre. The project was led by retired engineer Rose Grant.

In 2004 the pond project received the North Dorset District Council award for the best Millennium project. 


The initial stages:

Rose first presented the idea for a millennium pond project to the Parish Council in July 1997. This meeting was attended by a representative of the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

A subsequent survey of villagers' opinions produced a result of 93 in favour with 5 objections and those in favour represented 66.5% of the electorate.

A working party was formed consisting of Rose Grant (manager), David Coleman, Pam Crouch, Hans Hoff, Griff Jones, Ros Jones, Paul Natolie, Colin White and Derek Yeomans.

 

Application to build the pond was made to the Environment Agency who initially refused since the proposed design would have intercepted the flow of what is a 'winter bourne' chalk stream. Plans were revised to divert the stream behind the pond and this proposal was accepted by the agency in 1998.

 

Planning permission to construct the pond was obtained from North Dorset District Council in May 1999.

 

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Fund raising:

Many avenues were explored for raising the necessary funds including garden parties, a gardens open day and several entertaining barbecue-auctions. A number of generous donations were made from within the village.

A number of local companies made donations and several gave labour and materials at much reduced cost or even free of charge. The final amount raised was 9000, a small proportion of which continues to support the maintenance and electricity costs of running the pool.

 

Negotiations:

Several hurdles had to be overcome before work could commence:

  • Local authority planning permission

  • Highway authority approval was required particularly for the boundary near  the road.

  • Environment Agency objections to the potential interference with the stream and its wildlife.

  • Environment Agency concerns about the water supply from the borehole needed to supply the pond.

 

Construction:

A test borehole was drilled and water extracted for a period to prove viability before a the Environment Agency granted an extraction licence in July 1999.

A substantial amount of earth was then moved, before the culvert and wall foundations could be laid.

After completion of the wall, the liner was laid on a 15 cm layer of gravel and the pond was filled for the first time on January 1st 2000.

The safety fence and a number of native plant species were finally installed by March 2000.

 North Dorset District Council Award:

In March 2004 Rose Grant, Griff Jones and Hans Hoff attended a presentation in which local project organisers competed for the 'Best Millennium Project' award. The judges were particularly impressed by the way in which the pond team overcame the negotiating 'hurdles' to achieve the final result. Needless to say, the whole village was delighted when the award was received.               

The pond seat was constructed by local craftsman Dennis Sutton seen in the right-hand picture below.

 

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Upkeep of the pond:

The village is indebted to Ros and Griff Jones who regularly mow the grass verge and keep the other pond plants tidy.

 

Polite note to our visitors:

Please remember that the pond is home to a variety of wildlife  - it/they are not at all keen on we humans paddling or throwing stones into the pond!

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