South Hill Park: Protestors fail to save island
Published 26 Feb 2013 09:00 0 Comments
WILDLIFE campaigners mounted a last-ditch protest as diggers moved in to remove a nesting island - with police in attendance.
The South Hill Park Wildlife Protection Group has been fighting the removal of the concrete island in the middle of south lake for several weeks, fearful that ducks and birds would be at risk and deterred from the area.
But despite their best efforts, contractors finally arrived with diggers at 8am on Tuesday to begin the removal, amid a rally of devastated campaigners, Bracknell Forest Council officials and police officers.
Jo Machin, of North Lake, Birch Hill, is part of the group and said: "The reasons given for ripping out a unique and safe haven for all types of birds were flimsy to say the least.
"We are assured that larger birds, such as mallards, of which there are many at south lake, will be able to perch on the edges of the proposed new island but that's hardly comparable to being able to rest comfortably or have the opportunity to nest." She added: "It is, apparently, proposed to install the floating island at the end of March, which is at least four weeks into the nesting season and therefore far too late to be of any use for nesting purposes this year."
Mrs Machin argued the demolition should have been delayed until after the nesting season and said: "There are grave concerns about turning what was once a green and pleasant area into a desolate and barren place."
Another campaigner, Peter Hayward, added: "One of the signs the council put up, warning people about the island, had been set fire to. I think that graphically shows public opinion."
He added the group's presence at the lake on Tuesday was peaceful.
Sarah Moore, chairwoman for the Friends of South Hill Park Grounds, said the new floating island would be of significant benefit to the lake. "The majority of the Friends believe the concrete island is of no wildlife value and without evidence of nesting birds has no ecological value," she said.
"The new floating island however, will provide a nice safe haven for nesting birds, further away from the edge with low-level planting to ensure that the newly restored views of South Hill Park can be seen from the bridge."
This article appeared in Bracknell News 26 Feb 13