Residents ruffled after loss of ducks on a village pond

From left, Susan Davis, Bob Hessian and Norman Boardman survey the duckless pond.

From left, Susan Davis, Bob Hessian and Norman Boardman survey the duckless pond.

First published in News by

A DEVELOPER has pledged to help rehome village ducks after they were removed by pond campaigners.

Villagers say they were forced to move the wildfowl, which had lived on Weston-on-the-Green pond in North Lane for 30 years, fearing building work would impact on them.

Campaigners say a combination of failure to gain village green status for the pond and its bank, and then work starting on a four-bedroom property behind the pond, meant they had to move the ducks to a new home in Charlton-on-Otmoor.

But developer of the neighbouring property, Jon Kirk, claims the ducks were moved before building work started, and offered to help with the ducks if they were returned.

He said as part of the plans for the site he had a special drainage system designed to ensure the pond was “unaffected by building work”.

Mr Kirk, whose property was given planning permission in 2010, said: “The welfare of the ducks is paramount in my mind.

“This design has been fully approved by local council drainage engineers and is now a condition of the build.

“I should also like to point out that the ducks were removed prior to any building work taking place, and that I would be very happy to assist with looking after any ducks in the future.”

Although Oxfordshire County Council granted village green status for the pond, it refused the condition for the land there, which it owns.

Villagers say it made the pond “unworkable”, but the council says its hands were tied because the law dictates it cannot handover its land.

Norman Boardman, 82, who describes his job as “duckmeister” – a person who cares for ducks – said: “I have been putting the ducks to bed and letting them out every morning for the last 30 years.

“It was a combined decision by Cherwell and Oxfordshire County Council that made us decide to give up.”

The pond committee said the final straw came after dust and mud got into the water as the water feed to the pond runs across the land.

Oxford Mail:

  • Happier times for Mr Boardman with his ducks in 2006

Susan Davis, part of the village pond group, said: “A significant factor in the decision to take the ducks off the pond was the large influx of mud and silt into the pond from earthworks on the land behind the pond. The real problem was we lost such a lot of goodwill in the village from people who had spent 30 years looking after it – mowing, planting and the ducks.

“People now think ‘why are we doing this?’”

The pond was created in 1986 by villagers who de-silted it, built up the banks and continued to maintain it.

Parish clerk Bob Hessian said: “The really sad thing is there are no ducks now.

“It was a nice pleasant place to be in Weston and we are losing that now.”

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “The relevant land is classed as highway and under nationally-set law the county council is not permitted to give it village green status.”

Planning authority Cherwell District Council is aware of a potential breach of regulations with the development and is investigating.

  • Our top stories:

Update: Oxford Rape Crisis Centre react to the arrests of eight men on suspicion of rape and sexual grooming after dawn raids in Oxford this morning + video

Oxford Mail:

9:05am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

EIGHT men have been arrested this morning on suspicion of rape and sexual grooming in Oxford.

All bus subsidies now at risk in county council’s hunt for savings

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

ALL SUBSIDISED bus routes in the county could lose the extra money they receive from Oxfordshire County Council.

The sleuth neighbours who won justice for their friend

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

A FORMER solicitor has been handed a record £305,000 fine for taking advantage of a “vulnerable and elderly” lady by acquiring her house at a knockdown price.

Woman attacked in People's Park in Banbury

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:51am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

A WOMAN was assaulted while walking through a park in Banbury, police said.

GOLF: Eddie Pepperell looks forward to Open debut

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

Eddie Pepperell described qualifying for his first Open Championship at St Andrews as the “icing on the cake”.

Postmaster gets special honour for 25 years of serving the community

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

A POST office owner who has served the Risinghurst community for 25 years is being recognised by the Indian and British Governments for his work.

Didcot murders: Funeral plans for mum and daughter are set

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

THE FUNERAL of murdered Janet and Derin Jordon will take place at Oxford Crematorium, St John’s Chapel on June 11.

Flaming June? You must be having a flaming laugh!

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

THIS little Angel could need her brolly for a couple more days before an expected heatwave kicks in.

MP Nicola Blackwood wants review of way primary places allocated

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

MP Nicola Blackwood is urging the county council to review its school places allocation system after parents missed out in the latest round.

Peacocks looking for love at Harcourt Arboretum

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

THIS peacock was strutting his stuff for female companions at the Harcourt Arboretum.

‘Oldies’ take fuel poverty message to British Gas

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

PROTESTERS dressed up as old people to demonstrate in Oxford yesterday over fuel poverty.

Former jailed activist joins a ‘Big 6’ energy protest outside PM’s office + video

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

A GREENPEACE activist who was held in a Russian jail for his part in a campaign to board an oil rig, set up his latest environmental protest in Witney yesterday.

Oxford City Council leader calls for a radical rethink after a huge hike in payments to councillors

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

ALLOWANCES for councillors should be overhauled to attract more people into politics, the leader of Oxford City Council has said.

Salter Steamer’s make a grand return to Abingdon Island

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 2nd June 2015

OXFORD’S famous Salter’s Steamers have returned to Abingdon and opened their first permanent base in the town since 1989.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree