Historic Weston gardens to get new pond area as volunteers secure funding
PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:57 08 January 2018
A volunteering group which maintains a public garden in Weston-super-Mare has secured funding to transform its pond area.
The Friends of the Prince Consort Gardens looks after the area overlooking Birnbeck Pier in Birnbeck Road.
The gardens provide views over Weston, grass space, flowerbeds and a pond.
In July, the Friends group embarked on its first fundraising project to restore the under-used pond area so it can become a haven for wildlife.
It needed £12,000, and donations were given by Persimmon Housing, Waitrose and Weston Town Council, along with some anonymous payments.
The Big Lottery Fund provided the final £6,000.
Friends chairman Brian Wilkinson said: “This is a massive achievement to have raised this money in seven months, when we had imagined it might take a couple of years.
“Now that we essentially have the £12,000 for the concept idea, we now need a more detailed specification and an implementation plan.
“This might result in a further funding requirement, for example one outstanding item is the provision of electricity to any fountain.”
The aim is to improve the planting around the pond and add a pump, as the Friends have to clean it out every year, and it takes up volunteering time which could be better used in other areas.
The pond already attracts dragonflies and other insects, and is home to fish which someone left there, but it is hoped newts and frogs will also be attracted to it.
The Friends will meet with North Somerset Council in January to see what next steps will need to be taken.
The gardens will be 150 years old in December. They were laid when Albert, the Prince Consort and husband of Queen Victoria, died in 1861.
The gardens were owned by the Smyth-Piggott family until about 130 years ago, when they were presented to the local authority.
The land is still owned by North Somerset Council, but it works alongside the Friends and offered a £1,000 grant for the pond project.
Anyone who is getting volunteering, can speak to one of the Friends in the gardens on Saturday mornings, or email email@example.com