Oxford MailResidents ruffled after loss of ducks on a village pond (From Oxford Mail)

Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us

Residents ruffled after loss of ducks on a village pond

Oxford Mail: 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.

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:

Building giant is fined £525k after dad’s death

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

A CONSTRUCTION firm was fined £525,000 yesterday for health and safety breaches which led to the death of a father-of-two.

Nursery’s 40th birthday raises funds for refurbishment

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

HUNDREDS of pounds were raised at a nursery’s 40th birthday party - with money raised to hopefully give it a head start on the next 40 years.

Man denies inciting girl, 15, into sexual activity

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

A 25-YEAR-OLD has gone on trial accused of inciting a teenage girl to engage in sexual activity after they met playing Xbox games online.

‘We’ll back you if there is more affordable housing’

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

THE church at the centre of the Jericho boatyard development in Oxford has said it will only support it if there is more affordable housing.

Drink-binge driver is jailed over fuel spill

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:30am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

A DRINK-driver who caused a fuel spill after crashing his wife’s car into two trucks has been jailed for 16 months.

Vigil for ex-Gaza Scholar as wife and children are killed

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

A FORMER Oxford Brookes Gaza Scholar is in intensive care and six members of his family dead after their home was bombed by Israeli forces.

17-year wait for killer to be brought to justice

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

NOT long after 3am on Tuesday, August 26, 1997, petrol was squirted through the letterbox of 156 Magdalen Road, East Oxford, using two Tango bottles.

Man arrested after accident closes St Aldate’s

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

A MAN was arrested for assault at the scene of an accident in St Aldate’s yesterday just metres away from the city’s police station.

A partial victory as school bus service saved for another year

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Wednesday 23rd July 2014

CAMPAIGNERS in West Oxfordshire say they have have gained a partial victory after an appeal overturned plans to end a free school bus service.

Update: Three arrested after Cowley Road pub fight

Oxford Mail:

9:12pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

THREE people were arrested after a brawl on Cowley Road.

Oxford vigil in support of Gaza scholar

Oxford Mail:

5:40pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

A vigil has now started for an Oxford Brookes Gaza Scholar in intensive care after losing five members of his family in an Israeli bombardment.

50 glorious years of a fine village institution

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

IN 1965, when the Beatles released their album Help!, residents in Towersey realised their village hall was in desperate need of repair.

Listen: Fiaz Munshi guilty of manslaughter over Magdalen Road arson as police apologise for blunder + Audio

Oxford Mail:

2:52pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

FIAZ MUNSHI has been found guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder over the deaths of two children in an arson attack in East Oxford in 1997.

She was loved by so many: huge turn-out for the funeral of Liberty Baker

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 22nd July 2014

MORE than 300 friends and relatives turned out yesterday to pay their final respects to Witney schoolgirl Liberty Baker.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

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