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Bray community news (September 12): Holyport pond and its inhabitants revived

Each week, the Advertiser packages all the news from the Bray page of our print edition into a handy web format.

Team effort to top up pond water level

A healthy water level has been restored at Holyport pond following steps taken by Bray Parish Council (BPC).

The council, which owns and maintains the pond, noticed water levels had decreased over the last two weeks.

Councillor Louvaine Kneen said: “The clerk [Susan Cook] had been approached by residents, and I too had concerns over the water levels – especially as there was no rain forecast for some weeks.”  

Resident Ernie Leggett contacted BPC when the water levels got so low fish were becoming noticeably distressed.

“The small fish were fine, it was the larger fish which were suffering most,” said Ernie.

“When they’re floating on top of the water they’re easy prey.”

Cllr Kneen explained that water is carried to the pond through three new drains at the top of Holyport Street – where previously a ‘large lake’ had formed after heavy rainfall.

Cllr Kneen has requested the Royal Borough clear the drains to ensure that they are running into the pond freely – which could take up to 28 days.

In the meantime, with no rain forecast, BPC contacted South East Water to see if the pond could be filled using their pipe on the bank of the pond – which is only used in emergencies as the water is chlorinated.

Residents and the Environment Agency also contacted South East Water, which filled the pond in two stages on Friday and Monday.

Cllr Kneen said: “As a resident of Holyport and also a parish councillor, I was very concerned at the water levels of the pond and the impact it was having on the wildlife.

“South East Water was originally resistant at refilling the pond but thanks to all who contacted them, they relented and we now have a very full pond.”

Paul Mann, South East Water’s distribution manager, said: “We do everything we can to help our local communities.

“Last year, we had a request to supply water to a pond in Holyport which was running dry.

“We had a similar request this year and we were more than happy to help in order to protect the wildlife.”

'Sky is the limit' for new Oakley Court chef

A new head chef is ‘excited to take the dining experiences to another level’ at The Oakley Court.

Will Hemming who hails from Wales was previously head chef of Simpson’s in the Strand and Monkey Island Brasserie.

He has also worked at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin and Sky Garden in London.

The chef, who has a passion for sustainability and likes to support British farmers, started work at the hotel last month.

A lot of the produce to feature in his menu will be grown in the onsite chef’s gardens.

Will said: “I am thrilled to be joining The Oakley Court team and featuring British and European farmhouse style food on the menus here.

“The hotel has such a wonderful setting with the backdrop being the River Thames, I am excited to take the dining experiences to another level – the sky is the limit.”

The hotel has maintained its 4 Star Silver AA rating and has been awarded a two AA rosette for its restaurant The Dining Room.

£18,000 to upgrade parish playgrounds

Almost £18,000 will be spent by Bray Parish Council on upgrading and repairing playgrounds in the parish.

Councillors approved the proposed expenditure at a Bray parish Council meeting on Monday, September 2.

At Springfield Park, in Springfield Road, Holyport, a safer surfacing will be installed around the playground apparatus at a cost of £17,000.

A further £775 will be spent on repairing ‘medium risk items’ across Springfield Park, Jubilee Field in Bray and Aysgarth Park, also in Holyport.

Fruit, flowers, craft and cake

The 24th Holyport Village Show will take place at Holyport War Memorial Hall on Saturday.

Classes include vegetables, fruit, flowers and plants, craft and cookery.

Show chairman, Andy Birrell, said: “I’m looking forward to a packed Holyport Memorial Hall with a variety of exhibits including, hopefully, one or two surprises.

“It’s nice to see people put the effort into what they are exhibiting.”

People are encouraged to view the entries when the show opens to the public from 2pm.

Admission is by donation. Refreshments will be available.


Friday: Pilates keep-fit classes, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 1.35-2.45pm. Contact Tina Berry on 07557 127141.

Monday: Art classes, Braywood Memorial Hall, 10am-noon and 3-5pm.

Tuesday: Gentle Yoga, Holyport Scout HQ, from 9am. Contact Tara Sutthoff Crist at YogaTime@live.co.uk

Darby & Joan Club (alternative Tuesdays), social club for people of retirement age from Bray Parish, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 2-4pm. 07453 678790.

Art classes, Braywood Memorial Hall, 3-5pm and 7-9pm.

Circuit training, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 7-8pm. Call Jennie Saunders on 07766 461242.

Wednesday: Pilates, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 7.30-8.30pm. Call Matt Bryant on 07834 595322.

Smile, chair-based to standing exercise, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 2-4pm. Call Sarah Hill on 07876 586445.

Thursday: Mother and Baby Group, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 10-11.30am. Call Elizabeth Royds 07747 669769.

Boxing, Holyport War Memorial Hall, 4.30-6.30pm. Call Alexander Campbell-Borland on 07490 182185.

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