Community Wetland vandalised

A community wetland area at Kingsbury Water Park, which has seen significant investment through the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme over the last year, has been vandalised for a third time in as many weeks.

On Monday evening (19th June 2017) half out of the 10 bespoke willow screens that make up the viewing platform at the Country Park were ‘kicked in’, leaving significant damage to the structure. The same activity occurred last Thursday evening (15th June 2017). According to reports, a large group of children on bikes were seen damaging the screens at approximately 5:40pm.

Park Rangers and staff from the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (TVWLPS) repaired the damage prior to the weekend. Bicycle tyre tracks were found on the viewing platform after the incident took place.

Tracey Doherty, TVWLPS Wetland Landscape Officer said “I am very saddened to see this behaviour. The partnership and local volunteers have worked very hard to deliver a great community space, which allows people to get closer to nature, incorporating a viewing platform that can be used for outdoor education by the local schools. We have spent approximately £15,000 installing both the viewing platform and the pond dipping platform and 1,200 hours of time has been given by volunteers. The damage is such a shame for everyone who appreciates and enjoys spending time outside in the area.”

Community consultation showed overwhelming support for the project and the creation of the viewing platform.

The damage has come just three weeks after two bespoke sand martin willow sculptures were stolen from the site. These were concreted into the ground and installed on an island for safety.

The Community Wetland project itself cost £110,000 and was funded through Biffa Award, the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Howard Victor Skan Charitable Trust and the Environment Agency. It was led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Warwickshire County Council, working together in partnership as part of a series of landscape improvement projects being delivered through the Heritage Lottery Funded Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The 6 hectare wetland has been transformed from disused waterlogged football pitches and restored to its original function as the floodplain of the River Tame. It now consists of new water channels, scrapes, ditches and reedbed, helping to restore floodplain connectivity. Along with the viewing and pond dipping platforms and willow sculptures, new benches and interpretation panels have been installed. A sand martin bank has also been constructed in order to provide a vital safe nesting site for this species of bird, and can be viewed safely from the viewing platform.

This project is part of the Tame Valley Wetlands – a landscape partnership scheme supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, aiming to create a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all. The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership is led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with a wide variety of organisations including charities, local groups, statutory bodies and councils.

The Tame Valley Wetlands’ team and Park Rangers from Kingsbury Water Park are now urging people to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour in the area. They would also like the community to get in touch if they see anything, or if they know who might have carried out the damage, by calling the Police on 101 or the Tame Valley Wetlands LPS office on 01675 470 917 or by emailing enquiries@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk.