Villagers launch clear-up mission as pond's future is decided
A community has carried out a clear up of a village pond as efforts continue to resolve a stalemate over its future.
The area around the pond in Cleadon has been tidied thanks to a team of residents who removed silt, weeds and rubbish after they grew fed up of the site looking a mess.
Their efforts come as discussions continue between South Tyneside Council and the owners of the pond, the Church Commissioners, with a view to it taking on the lease.
The council plans to then sub-lease it to Cleadon In Bloom so it can take care of its ongoing maintenance and return it to its former glory with hopes it can access a grant of £220,000 will help preserve the area.
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Dave Scrafton is among the residents who gathered to carry out recent work.
He said: “Cleadon In Bloom is looking to apply for a grant for improvements at the pond, but the area around it has become a problem site.
“It has not been maintained for about four years and all the silt built up and the weeds had overgrown and there was rubbish, so a few of us got together.”
The group and the In Bloom volunteers, who have also helped improve other area of the village, have been praised by Councillor Margaret Melling.
She hopes issues will be resolved to restore the pond and its “rightful place at the centre of the village.”
She said: “The council had been maintaining it, even though it’s not theirs to look after, but when the cuts came in the council had to stop.
“The Cleadon In Bloom group have been tenacious and they have been really marvellous.
“The green volunteers are very welcome and are also to be commended.”
She said a small grant is also being sought to update plans with the aim of supporting a larger application.
A council spokesman said: “The transfer of ownership will support the group to secure external funding to enhance the pond further for the benefit of the wider community.
“Negotiations around the lease of the land are ongoing.”