WORK starts next week on cleaning and enhancing the lower pond in Great Malvern’s Priory Park.
Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) approved plans in January to desilt and repair the pond as part of the Five Year Plan to improve the popular park.
As part of preparations this week, the surrounding trees are being pruned and the draining of the pond has started.
Specialists will then remove the fish safely.
To assist with the works, the Council House car park on Avenue Road will be closed on Monday to Thursdays between February 7 and 29 April.
The footpaths by the lower pond in the park will also be closed during those dates. Visitors are being asked to follow the signs.
The works follow recent desilting and repair of the upper pond, which has reinstated water flow into the lower pond.
Now more significant works are needed to the lower pond to improve water quality and biodiversity.
Desilting will enable the pond to start capturing carbon again and provide the right environment for plants to grow.
In addition to desilting, the project also includes specialist removal of fish, installing gabion baskets to create planting shelves, wetland planting to create habitat for aquatic invertebrates and insects and tree works to reduce overshading and leaf litter accumulation.
Wildlife features including kingfisher perch and habitat log piles will be installed, non-native shrub thinning or removal will take place and native species will be planted, along with shrubs and woodland bulbs.
Works on the lower pond will run until April 2022.
The project has received funding of £102,716.37 from the European Regional Development Fund, awarded by Natural Networks. This makes up 45 per cent of the project cost, with MHDC providing the remaining 55 per cent
Coun Peter Whatley, Portfolio Holder for Resources at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “It is so exciting to see the next phase of our Priory Park improvements underway.
“It has been 30 years since the pond was cleaned out and the additional works will improve the water quality, making it suitable for wetland wildlife to thrive.
“These works are essential and all part of our commitment to improving and making the most of our wonderful environment.”
Visit malvernhills.gov.uk/priorypark to keep up to date with the improvements to Priory Park.