03:00PM, Thursday 01 July 2021
The founder of a swan rescue charity has expressed relief after her organisation was given the green light to build a permanent rehabilitation centre next to Bray Lake.
Wendy Hermon, who founded Swan Support, added that the approval of plans gives her charity an opportunity to expand as it seeks to provide a safe haven for the birds.
It currently works out of a temporary site in Datchet, with a planning application submitted to the Windsor and Maidenhead council in July last year to build a new site north of Bray Watersports in Monkey Island Lane.
A decision was hoped to have been made in September but due to COVID restraints, Wendy has been forced to wait for the news.
And her ‘dream come true’ was confirmed on June 22, as planning officers gave plans for the new swan centre the go-ahead.
The single-storey building will include an intensive care unit for injured swans and a dedicated space for washing birds who have been struck by oil spillages.
It will also be located near to the water so that injured birds can be eased back into their natural environment during recovery.
Speaking to the Advertiser and Express, Wendy said: “I just can’t believe it. It has been going on for years and was just one thing after another. COVID massively delayed it.
“I can’t explain the feeling of relief, we have gone through a lot to get where we are now. We have all worked hard for it and we have persevered.
“It is a dream come true not just for me but for the team, because without them, we would not be where we are.”
Plans had initially been drawn up for a new headquarters on land bound by the cut and the M4 in Upper Bray Road, but these had to be withdrawn in November 2018 after site owners, Summerleaze Ltd, said the land was no longer available.
Summerleaze then provided an alternative site for the charity, prompting the submission of the latest approved planning application.
She added: “In Datchet it has always been temporary so we have never been able to expand and grow, and now we have the opportunity to house more swans, we will have our own treatment room. It will be amazing.”
Wendy expressed thanks to architect Gillian Konrad, who helped the charity draw up the plans, as well as planning consultant Gemma Crossley.
Thames Water, land owners at the Bray site, Summerleaze, and David Barber, the Queen’s swan marker, were also names and organisations named by Wendy as playing a part in the charity’s planning success.
Swan Support is now hoping to progress with work on its new building ‘as soon as possible’, and Wendy added that it is launching a fundraising drive to help it achieve its goal.
To support the charity, email email@example.com
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)