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Cash for Brownes Pond improvements
A GROUP which has been campaigning to clear up a neglected beauty spot is celebrating after securing £10,000 for improvements.
The Friends of Brownes Pond has welcomed the Environment Agency grant, which will see the installation of fishing platforms, a duck feeding station and the reinforcement of banks to prevent erosion at the pond off Taunton Road in Bridgwater.
The community group was set up last summer by people living nearby who felt the pond had become plagued by drunken yobs.
Terry Pope, group chairman, told the Mercury: “We received around £10,000 in grants and the Environment Agency agreed to match it so we’ve effectively had £20,000 for improvements.
“We started off as a Neighbourhood Watch group in 2010 but we noticed people drinking and camping in the area had got worse by 2011.
“We set up the Friends group to take responsibility of the pond and since then we’ve been working with both the councils and police.”
The group has carried out more than 300 hours of work on the pond and has worked with Somerset County Council to re-establish the pathways so pond users are more visible and feel safer at night.
Terry thanked Cllr Brian Smedley and Rob Semple, community development project officer for Sedgemoor District Council, for their support of the project.
Cllr Smedley said: “We’ve been working hard to get Sedgemoor District Council to visit the pond and look at what needs to be done.
“I am 100% behind the council and the Friends for instigating these improvements.”
Mr Semple added: “We’re looking at improving the banks and facilities for anglers, including disabled access, but also educating amateur anglers on how to fish and about respecting the area.
“If people respect it they are more likely to look after it.”
The Friends will be holding clean-up sessions at the pond every Saturday from 2pm to 4pm from November 3 for about a month.
The pond will be closed for fishing from November 6 to 24 to allow for the improvements.