Town Council abandons its bird sanctuary plan

PONDLIFE: Holden Pond PICTURE: Southborough Town Council

TOWN councillors responsible for a historic pond on the edge of Southborough Common have abandoned plans to turn it into a wildlife haven for birds.

Southborough Town Council (STC) decided in 2021 to close Holden Pond to fishing, after reports of poaching and abuse of the fish, as well as increasing reports of anti-social behaviour.

The Council then planned a regeneration project to create greater biodiversity in the area and establish the pond as a wildlife haven.

However, after consultation with experts, the STC team found the costs of establishing a permanent bird island were ‘prohibitive’, while conditions might not help the hoped-for regeneration.

In a statement about the project, STC explained: “One island could only accommodate one pair of birds and there is no guarantee that they would settle there, as they choose nesting sites based on how safe they feel and there are multiple threats at Holden Pond, given its location.

“Holden Pond has very specific issues to contend with, especially due to the road and the impact of speeding traffic, as well as predators.

“The expert advice that we have received is that birds have very specific needs for nesting and territory, which are better suited to larger ponds and lakes in quieter locations.”

Councillors now plan to take further advice and carry out ecological surveys.

“We have been advised that it is more responsible to establish what wildlife is already thriving there, such as reptiles and amphibians, and to then put together a plan that is sensitive to this existing wildlife but will further improve the pond for both wildlife and local residents,” STC said.

“In essence, we do not want to force the pond to be something specific, and instead wish to adopt an approach where nature decides how a site evolves and we simply encourage this process.”

Holden Pond has been in existence for hundreds of years and lies in the narrow valley at the foot of Constitutional Hill Road.

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