West Sussex Gazette

Invasive plant runs amok at town’s ancient green space

Group calls for council’s support to tackle weed problem

- Joe Stack ws.letters@jpimedia.co.uk

A Midhurst group has declared war on an invasive species of weeds — but it needs funds from the district council to win.

The volunteer members of the town’s South Pond Group dedicate hours a week sowing seeds and mowing weeds at the historic green space.

But a shortage in funding from Chichester District Council (CDC) has left them fighting a stubborn enemy as sweet reed grass goes ‘mad’ at South Pond.

Barbara Coote, chairman of the group, said the plant cannot be uprooted by hand and instead requires a special training licence in order to safely administer the weedkiller.

Mrs Coote said: “It really needs doing in spring when it is coming up. If it’s not it will take over.

“It wasn’t done in the spring and now it is taking over — it’s going mad.

“We feel it needs this treatment but the difficulty is that South Downs National Park did some weed wiping on one island last autumn, and that has been fully effective, but the other two need to be done.

“The people I have dealt with at CDC have been extremely supportive of South Ponds Group but they have neither the manpower or the money to do the things that need doing at South Pond.

“They have got to allocate more to South Pond, the Jubilee path, the woodland and the stream.

“We want those mud banks completely clear of sweet reed grass.”

A spokesman for Chichester District Council said it was hoped the works will be carried out during the winter months.

They said the council was ‘committed’ to working with South Pond Group to provide a ‘welcome environmen­t for visitors and wildlife’.

The spokesman said: “We are aware of the work that needs doing, but unfortunat­ely due to the pandemic this year our ground maintenanc­e staff have had to support our waste collection teams instead as a result of staff shortages.”

For all the latest news from across West Sussex, visit www.westsussex­today.co.uk

 ?? ?? South Pond Group fear the weed will spoil the natural beauty of South Pond. Picture courtesy of Steve Morley
South Pond Group fear the weed will spoil the natural beauty of South Pond. Picture courtesy of Steve Morley

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