Friday, 10 April 2015

What the hell is going on at Sheepwash Pond on the Ridgeway ** Updated 22/4/2015

***** Updated 23/4/2015 ****
Belmont Farm have left a comment stating that they are not happy with the contents of this post.

Please see the response below.

This evening I was on my way back from my evening walk with our dogs when I noticed an  alarming sight at Sheepwash pond on the Ridgeway in Mill Hill. The pond has huge clumps of green algae blooms covering much of the surface (Sheepwash pond is located on the land next to Mr Andrew Reids Belmont Childrens Zoo, which is home to a large number of  "exotic" animals).  Such algae blooms are often a sign of sewage or other pollutants being present in  a body of water.  It is not unknown for children to play in the pond. Maybe it was just the time of day but we are also noticed the lack of the geese and ducks which usually make their presence known. The pond is also next door to St Pauls school.

Intrigued by these rather odd for this time of year algae blooms, further inspection revealed something even more alarming. A huge pipe leading from the pond to Mr Reids Belmont Childrens Zoo property. The Barnet Eye was unable to ascertain the purpose of the pipe. It has clearly been installed at a reasonable expense and is serving some purpose for Mr Reids establishment. As far as we understand, you need a license to extract water from a public pond and there are large fines for doing this without the proper authority from the environment agency.

Mr Reid has recently been very vocal about how he has joined UKIP following a planning dispute with the council. Lets hope he's equally forthcoming explaining the exact  purpose of the pipework into the Sheepwash pond, and lets hope it serves a useful, community minded purpose. The Barnet Eye believes that Sheepwash pond is one of the local jewels in the crown in Mill Hill. The thought of it being contaminated with sewage causing algae blooms is most alarming. The source of any such contamination needs identifying as a matter of urgency.

We hope that Barnet Council visit the pond as a matter of urgency and ensure that there are no dangerous pollutants in the pond. We noted that Angel Pond, a mere 400 yards down the road had no such algae blooms. As to the pipework into the Belmont Zoo, lets hope that we get a proper explanation for that as well.


Belmont Farm said...

Sir, First of all I would like to state that it is nice to see the majority of your followers haven’t wasted too much time commenting on this ridiculous post. After all, it is completely incorrect and defamatory. Your accusations are unfounded and sadly show your complete lack of understanding of environmental matters. The holding is a farm not a 'zoo' as you suggested and we have to extract water from the pond as no authority will take responsibility for the pond which regularly overflows into the farm and is detrimental to the animal’s welfare. Perhaps you can help us find out who is responsible for the pond as after many years no local authority has admitted that the maintenance of the water level is their responsibility. As farm manager at Belmont Farm I can only see that you have posted this to scaremonger local people with your lack of knowledge, particularly where ponds and blanket weed are concerned. Next time you have an issue, try popping in to see us before you post rubbish over the internet, I will be happy to answer your questions. Scott Ruck, Farm Manager, Belmont Farm

Rog T said...

Dear Belmont Farm,

The Barnet Eye is rather perplexed by your comments. As we have consistently stated we believe the Farm/Zoo is an assett to Mill Hill and have publicly sought to try and assist in resolution with the dispute with Barnet Council. A cursory search of the blog will show that this is the case. We are not seeking closure of the establishment and have stated that common sense should prevail to resolve the outstanding issues.

We are somewhat perplexed with regards to your comments that the contents of the above post are defamatory. We sought clarification as to what the purpose of the pipes from the Belmont Farm to the pond was.

We are more than happy to assist Belmont Farm to identify the pond owners.

There are a couple of points we wish to take issue with. It seems that you take issue with the description of your establishment as a zoo. We are somewhat perplexed with this as you have a collection of interesting animals at the site such as birds of prey and rabbits , which are clearly not being "farmed" in the classic use of the term. Strange as it may seem, we had not realised that using such a term in association with an establishment that attracts 50,000 people a year to see an interesting collection of animals would be seen by you as "defamatory". We rather like you establishment, even if we disagree with the political stance of the owner. If describing your establishment as a zoo has caused offence, we humbly apologise.

You claim that we have been trying to "scaremonger" local people. As a local blog concerned with local issues, do you think we should not comment about the state of a local amenity which is adjacent to your land? You clearly state that we have a complete lack of environmental issues.

The Barnet Eye is more than happy to offer Belmont Farm the opportunity to post a guest blog giving full details of all of the environmental issues that we clearly misunderstand, explaining why we are incorrect in our assumption that some form of pollution had caused algae blooms.
It is clear that BElmont Farm has access to a team of experts, who well be able to ensure that local people are reassurred as to the health of the ecosystem of the pond.

The Barnet Eye blog has given promenant publicity to the Belmont Farm and the facilities on offer on many occasion. We welcomed the opening of the attraction in 2010 with this blog

Which oddly received no comments about the term "zoo". As you will see, if you bother to look, we have been very supportive over the years and are not exactly impressed with such comments in regards to an issue with an adjoining pond.

We assume that your comments are a misunderstanding of a genuine concern with the adjoining pond. As ever we are happy to work with all local businesses in Mill Hill to promote the area. Please get in touch through the usual means if you want assistance tracing the pond owners

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