Wealden District Council Local Plan Examination
by Louise Nurser BA(Hons) Dip UP MRTPI
Wealden District Council Says It'll Leave "Pete The Pond" Alone!
More than 46,000 people signed a petition to help a man in Willingdon preserve his home's aquatic nursery, and now the local authority says he can.
As previously reported by More Radio, Wealden District Council had raised concerns earlier this year about its location in a residential area of Willingdon.
It belongs to Pete the Pond (Peter Birchall), a popular Youtube star and local gardener.
In March, Wealden District Council requested him to remove much of what is on his land in a quiet suburban close of modern houses, also expressing concerns that a commercial enterprise might be behind some of what is there.
"Pete’s aquatic nursery contains 180 native and rare plant species which he has grown himself throughout his life and are used for educational and research purposes.
"He also uses the area to grow plants to be put back into other ponds to create biodiversity for the native fauna and flora.
"The ponds in Pete’s garden also contain Great crested newts, which are a protected species."
On Friday (23 April), Wealden District Council and The Environmental and Planning Department said his garden can be kept completely as it is.
The organiser of his GoFundMe page said:
"He can now go back to his normal life which is helping wildlife, restoring biodiversity and creating ponds, habitat and wildlife havens!
"Pete was honestly blown away by the amount of money raised and the amount of people that chipped in. Over 300 people!
"It was so nice to see everyone chipping in to help someone who has spent his life helping the world, and helping the world itself!
"So thank you so much everyone, I'm sure even the sheer presence of this gofundme and the fact we had funds raised made an impact on WDC's final decision.
"As mentioned in the fundraiser, any funds that remained / weren't used will be donated to wildlife / conservation charities of Pete and Kerrie's choice.
"We have a few in mind already, each are one’s that do amazing work for local wildlife, conservation and the environment; once the charities have been chosen, I will post an update here!
"In regards to those who donated the large sums, I can understand if this is something you may not be happy about.
"Donating a large sum to a charity and towards an individual to help with legal fees are of course very different. So I am going to set up a separate email account if those (who donated mid range to big sums) want their donation back.
"Please email me your your full name and the sum you wish to be refunded with the subject line ‘refund’ and it will be sent out when I believe that everyone who wishes for a refund has been in touch as it will be a singular process. [email redacted]
"And thanks again everyone for all of your donations, shares and kind words; it all really made a difference in this battle with WDC.
To: Wealden District Council
Help stop Wealden District Council from forcing Pete to destroy his life's work.
We won the campaign! All of the demands have been met and Wealden Council and The Planning department are going to leave Pete alone.
(A special thanks to Sana for getting in touch and promoting the petition further and giving me advice)