Report calls for removal of trees

A local resident has branded an area in the Valley Park 'an eyesore' after trees and shrubs were removed in recent weeks.

Valley pond.
Valley pond.
Valley pond.

The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted the Times to voice concerns about land around the duck pond in the local beauty spot.

The man stated: “Every single tree has been cut down and one of the pontoons has been completely destroyed. The area is approximately 100 yards away from the play area in the park and this has been ongoing for a number of months. I first became aware of it in February.

“It was the trees at first then I noticed on Thursday, May 11 that the pontoon was destroyed. It’s a complete eyesore now.”

Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “Due to drier weather over recent weeks, the water levels at the Valley pond have dropped, exposing the base of the platform.

“Following a recent assessment, the decision was made to remove the platform due to safety concerns.

“Due to the volume of water contained in the Valley pond, it is managed by the council, under the Reservoir Act (NI) 2015.

“To comply with this act, council is required to assess the pond and as a result, commissioned an engineer’s survey.”

The spokesperson for the local authority added: “The recommendations from this report included the removal of shrubs and trees on the retaining pond bank.

“The removal of this vegetation allows for visual surveying of the water levels, identification of weaknesses and to enable regular checks on mechanical systems such as inlets and outlets.

“The work also permits ease of access for emergency repairs to the pond in the event of a pond wall breach.”