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Lowestoft park transformation nearly complete

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:22 06 July 2010

Victoria Nicholls

The transformation of a wildlife haven in a Lowestoft park is nearing completion following five months of restoration work.

The overgrown pond area of Fen Park, in Kirkley, has been the focus of work since March, after a volunteer group secured a £150,000 grant to fund the project.

The transformation of a wildlife haven in a Lowestoft park is nearing completion following five months of restoration work.

The overgrown pond area of Fen Park, in Kirkley, has been the focus of work since March, after a volunteer group secured a £150,000 grant to fund the project.

Fen Park Friends used the money from Lowestoft Together to pay for the project, which involved contract-ors drafting in heavy machinery to reconstruct the area.

Richard Jolley, chairman of the group, said: “We are near the finalisation of the pond dredging. It's looking quite nice down there now. Hopefully, completion will be in about three to four weeks.”

He said three of the islands in the fens that had become “swamp-like” and dangerous for park-users had now been filled in with silt and joined to form one large island, which would in time host a nature trail. It will take a year for the ground on the enlarged island to harden before the nature walk that will be created on it will open to the public.

Mr Jolley said that work had been completed to clear rotten trees and undergrowth, and that the last remaining task was to refill the pond with 6ft of water and restock it with fish.

He said: “Refilling the pond will take a little while, but apart from that it's just a matter of tidying up and making the place back to what it was.

“You will see a total difference - the water, which was green at one time, will be a lot clearer.”

He said that signs of disruption to wildlife during the project had been minimal, and that ducks had continued to breed on the site, and a muntjac deer with its young had been spotted in early mornings by contractors.

Mr Jolley said the project had been targeted by vandals who got into the site, threw wooden stakes and pylons into the water, smashed the windscreen of a digger, and set fire to a bin. However, he added that despite the setbacks the project would be completed within budget and was well worth the effort.

“We've had our ups and downs,” he said. “Some people say 'what a waste of money', but we've had a lot of people saying it was about time it was done.”

Mr Jolley said that once the work was completed an open day would be held to invite the public into the new-look area of the park.

It is the third stage of a regenera-tion project that started in 2005, that has seen the creation of a new play area and sensory garden.

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