Fish “left to die” after lake is drained

From the left, Carole J Greenwood, Dot Foster and Jaqueline Sherwood at the drained lake off Washer Lane, Pye Nest.
From the left, Carole J Greenwood, Dot Foster and Jaqueline Sherwood at the drained lake off Washer Lane, Pye Nest.

Angry residents claim fish have been left for dead after a privately-owned lake in Halifax was drained to make way for a new house.

John Dobson, owner of the lake on Washer Lane in Pye Nest, says he is trying to improve the area for local wildlife after getting planning permission to build a property on the land.

But people living nearby are angry that all the fish in the pond have not been re-homed and say around 15 to 20 fish are still in the lake.

Jackie Sherwood said: “He has planning permission to drain it and build a house but he had to re-home the fish.

“But loads of dead fish have just been left there squirming around in the mud.

“It’s just heartless and cruel. They’ve been laid there for weeks.

“Why would someone leave them to die like that?”

Another local resident, Ian Worth, said: “There is a duck and its babies stuck on an island in the middle of the pond unable to get off because they’re surrounded by mud.

“I’m disgusted they’ve left fish struggling there.”

John Dobson, who has owned the lake for 12 years, said: “In 2008 the dam burst and a huge amount of water flowed down hill.

“The dam was condemned and was deemed not repairable in the economic constraints.

“In 2010 there were still 100 beautiful carp left and we contacted a guy who came and took the carp out.

“The water level carried on dropping to about six or eight inches and there were 10 of those fish left.

“Underneath the water there is a metre of mud and sludge so it wasn’t easy to get them out.

“We need to drain the pond to give the builders access but there is a plan to re-establish three new 100-square metre ponds.

“It’s part of a process trying to make the area a bit better for wildlife.

“We haven’t let those fish die out of negligence, it just wasn’t possible to take them out.”

Calderdale Council’s Head of Planning and Highways, Geoff Willerton said: “At one stage the pond was an important habitat for amphibian populations, however this is no longer the case. The proposal was accepted on the basis of the creation of new ponds and future habitat management.

“There was no requirement to relocate the fish. While a condition of the planning permission related to the relocation and safeguarding of amphibian populations, the draining of the pond does not require planning permission.”