Emsworth Mill Pond repaired

The future of a beauty spot in Emsworth has been secured after £100,000 repair works were completed.

Emsworth Slipper Mill Pond, which sits on the county border, has needed repair works to its footpaths and banks which have suffered from years of tidal erosion.

The project has been the subject of eight years of hard work by the volunteers of the Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Society.

Chairman of the society Nick Madina has commissioned geotechnical surveys, battled to find funding, applied for planning permission and tried to find a suitable contractor to carry out the work since the need for repairs was identified in 2003.

“The thing that’s very rewarding is the works have been completed in time for the breeding season,” he said.

“In the past few days the birds have been pairing up. You can hear them going ‘phew’, we have got the pond to ourselves.”

The path on the western side of the pond was in danger of subsiding as the bottom of the banks on the western side of the path became undercut.

The clay deposits under the path were also becoming eroded which put the stability of the path in danger.

Mr Madina added: “Since 1962 volunteers of one group or another have been looking after it – it’s been repaired, repaired and repaired.

“The bank on one of the sections was starting to fail. As work started it was starting to sink. It would not have been a long time before the path and the centre sections were in trouble.”

The group received planning approval in the summer of 2009, but it was too late to start work because of the effect it would have had on the breeding season, and when they were ready to start they had to find funding from another source after having their application rejected.

Half the money was awarded by the LEADER project, which is part of the Rural Development Programme for England.

The project also had major input from Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council.

For more information visit website www.smppa.org.uk