Letters: Joanne Broadwater, February 17, 2015

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I am writing in reply to the “ode” (Margaret Key, Letters, February 10) in reply to Mr Nick Lawrence’s letters.

The “ode” refers to the closure of the Willows Nature Reserve for two weeks for major works at a cost of £50,000.

I went down to the Willows today

I did not go in disguise

For all the work that is supposed to be done

Neither machine nor man did I see not one

We wait still to be pleased; however, instead we are just teased

If this complaining be, I guess Nick and I are both guilty!

Campaigners we would surely be

If meetings were open and included all

And perhaps advertised at Downham Market Town Hall.

The Friends of The Willows Committee as they are known have in the past ensured little jobs are done around the Lake but it is my belief that they do not have the funds to carry out large expensive tasks. Any work previously undertaken has been done by the Community Payback Team this help being free then but now requires payment.

Many, many, years ago I can remember seeing an article in your paper where “Tinker Taylor”, the Downham stalwart, had got a team together who all turned up on a weekend and cleaned the “Willows” up and created the space we have been enjoying.

I wonder if someone had shouted for help and perhaps let other people into what appears to be a bit of a closed shop things could have been done sooner.

I have walked this area for the past 10 years with my now elderly little dog.

In all this time the “lake” as it is described has never been as neglected as it has over the last two years.

It smells, it is covered in duck weed, there are reeds and lily pads almost reaching from one side to the other, all in all it is no surprise that the fish have been struggling for oxygen.

Until now I was not aware that West Norfolk Council actually owned this area.

I had seen the council van emptying both the dog and waste bins and understood that they provided the machinery to cut the areas of grass but have never been aware of any other input into this very special little green space. The wildlife is very prominent here birds such as cuckoos, kingfishers, long tailed tits, blackbirds, robins and many of our general garden birds can be seen. Muntjac deer, squirrels and, believe it or not, some kind human has even introduced terrapins to the lake; these of course will be lost in the dredging as they, along with the afore mentioned muntjac, are considered an invasive species.

I was surprised that they had actually survived two winters in the” lake”.

I know the land between the Willows Reserve and the railway line has or is in the process of getting planning permission. Houses have already been built on the surrounding land coming all the way to the top of Brickfields Lane and these properties are in full view of what once a quiet secluded little gem.

It would be an absolute disaster if Downham were to lose this small green space there are just not enough spaces like this left in the town it seems every front garden, back garden or any piece of spare land has had a house or houses plonked on it.

With all this extra council tax being earned £50k will be well spent here in The Willows. There is nowhere else like this in Downham and it deserves to be restored to a very special little place where many people (and dogs) of all ages are brought together.

Joanne Broadwater,

Barroway Drove