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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Filling in pond near The Royal Oak in Bean could lead to flooding say villagers

13 March 2014
by Julia Roberts
The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean

Bean Residents’ Association and the parish council have objected to plans to demolish the Royal Oak and build one four-bed and five three-bed houses.

They argue that the pond with its willow tree is a natural and historic feature of the village and provides a wildlife haven.

The association is also concerned that filling in the pond could lead to flooding at the junction of School Lane and Sandy Lane.

However, a report to Dartford council’s development control board states the pond has “limited amenity value” and, despite residents’ views, is “unlikely to be of significant value” to wildlife.

It also says the pond has not been identified by the Environment Agency as a “drain” or that the plans pose a flood risk.

The development has, therefore, been recommended for approval at the meeting tonight (Thursday).

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean

Peter Luker, who lives in Drudgeon Way and is a member of the residents’ association, said the development would spoil one of the last bits of rural Bean.

He said: “The pond has been a feature of the village and provided pleasure for residents and visitors. Ducks, frogs, tadpoles, water boatmen and newts have made it their home.

"It is an ideal nature study resource for our local school.”

While Mr Luker agreed the pond was “something of an eyesore”, he added it was slowly recovering after a community payback team cleared debris in 2012.

He said: “This weekend the water was very healthy with lots of weed evident and the frogs were busy making the next generation of their species.

"The willow tree is alive and sprouting. Given time the pond will regenerate.

"We hope that the members of the board will decide to save our pond so that our children and grandchildren will enjoy it.”

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean

However, the report to the council says that while it understood residents’ concerns, it was difficult to object to the scheme given the pond’s current state and there was not a strong case for its retention.

It adds, however, that an assessment should be carried out before development into any contamination resulting from previous commercial use of the land.

The residents’ association has suggested the pond be transferred to parish ownership.

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