Story: Brent Moya
Sheffield City Council have come under fire after local resident Peter Mappin slammed their supposed clean up of Roe Woods and Crabtree Pond. After pledging to repair the sites in August 2004, little has been done, and the once proud area has become an eyesore.
Mr. Mappin and other residents have been angered by the council’s apparent ignorance. Firstly Crabtree Pond is in urgent need of draining while Roe Woods River which runs to Crabtree is also badly neglected.
On Roe Woods Peter was equally sceptical. “There used to be seven ponds here, now there’s only one left.” As we entered through the bottom of Roe woods I noticed spliff wrappers and Durex packets strewn on the ground. According to Mr. Mappin the Council have used one excuse after the other. “They claim that the pond at the bottom of Roe Woods was damaged by the recent floods but it’s been like this for years!”
Roe Woods has been around for generations since the days of the Romans. “There is so much history on people’s doorsteps but it is being neglected,” he continued.
Peter also went over some of the history of Roe Wood Cottage that was once situated at the bottom end of the wood.
“It was used in conjunction with Roe Wood Nursery but the Council pulled it down.”
Peter’s view is that Sheffield City Council make their decisions regardless of others’ feelings. “They have their priorities and they are sticking to them. They would rather build expensive signposts and benches than look at the bigger picture – it sums them up really,” he continued.
I asked Parks Woodland and Countryside officer, John Gilpin, to respond to Peter’s complaints but he said it wasn’t his responsibility. However, at a recent area panel meeting he stated:
“Parks and Countryside have a commitment towards the future management of Roe Woods, and has identified £3,000 per year specifically for the maintenance of the site.”
He told the meeting recent works include upgrading and resurfacing footpaths, woodland thinning and coppice works, and security works. He also promised the pond would be cleared on a regular basis.
Sheffield Wildlife Trust has received funding to maintain Crabtree Pond. Annabelle Kennedy told the Area Panel that the pond had recently been dredged and allowed to refill naturally.
A friends group is now being established to work with the Council around maintenance of the site. Their first meeting will be Tuesday 4th December, 6pm at Roe Lane Community Centre.