A historic pond needs dredging urgently, says a fed-up South Tyneside councillor after taking matters into his own hands.
Coun Jeff Milburn is annoyed about rubbish clogging up the stagnant waters of the 800-year-old pond at the centre of Cleadon Village.
So dismayed is the Cleadon and East Boldon ward representative that he decided to wade into the water and remove some of the rubbish himself on Sunday.
He says he has reported the matter to South Tyneside Council and is calling for the pond to be spruced up.
A council spokesman said the land is owned by the Church Commissioners who lease it to the Cleadon In Bloom group, who now have funding to improve the area.
Coun Milburn said: “The pond needs to be drained, cleaned out and refilled. The water is now stagnant, and the smell is awful.
“Considering this is the centre of a historic village, I think more time and care needs to be spent on it. We need to attract nature too, but I can’t see that happening in its present state.”
In recent years, during flash floods, Coun Milburn says the water has overflown and ended up overflowing down the high street.
And earlier this year, villagers were upset after a mother duck lost a number of her ducklings as they were swept down a nearby drain.
Coun Milburn added: “This is one of the oldest ponds in South Tyneside, and it’s just full of rubbish. I think it’s also worrying from a safety aspect. If a child, or even an adult, ends up in there, despite the pond not being that deep, they could easily become tangled up in all of the mess and drown.
“The last few times we’ve had flash floods, the rain has come down off Cleadon Hills and the pond overflows into the the village. It’s not very hygienic. It needs to be cleaned up.”
A Council spokesman said: “The Cleadon In Bloom group has secured some funding to regenerate the area and has plans to install new fencing, paths and seating as well as updating the drainage around the pond which will improve the habitat for wildlife.
“By working in partnership with the group we have been able to offer them advice on the best way to implement their plans.”