THE MYLONDON news site – owned by the same publisher as Surrey Live – has quoted a Londoner’s threat to “give neighbours something proper to moan about” the next time they visit Frensham Ponds.
In a June 21 article titled Londoners blamed for overcrowding Surrey’s ‘secret beach’ as neighbours complain of litter, cars everywhere and illegal BBQs, MyLondon reported Frensham Great Pond “has been advertised as a ‘secret beach’ close to London”, adding it has “reportedly become ‘infested with litter’”.
As previously reported by the Herald, MyLondon and Surrey Live have frequently run online articles in recent years promoting Frensham Pond as a “hidden gem” and the “secret Surrey beach” – ignoring that Frensham Pond and Common is an extremely rare heathland habitat, protected under national and international law.
The article goes on to state “lack of car parking, blocked roads from traffic, and illegal BBQs have also been reported,” adding the ponds are “accessible from London via public transport, which may be a reason why overcrowding and littering is blamed on the capital’s visitors”.
The Great Pond is four miles from the nearest station in Farnham, and served by only a very limited bus service – while anti-social and illegal car parking has been a major issue in the area surrounding the ponds for years.
MyLondon also stated visitors from London were “annoyed” at being blamed for the mess at the ponds, adding “some Londoners told those living in Surrey that the beach is ‘not yours’ and is ‘for everyone to enjoy’”.
It continued: “One Londoner was so fed up he even joked about bothering locals more on his return. He said: ‘I think everyone should beep the car horn, when entering and leaving, just to give the neighbours something proper to moan about’.”
Surrey Live’s previous articles on the subject have attracted fierce criticism from its own readers, as well as from Waverley Borough Council.
Councillor Kika Mirylees, Waverley’s portfolio holder for health, well-being, parks and leisure, told the Herald in March: “Each year, we see increasingly large numbers of visitors to Frensham Great Pond in the summer months and it is frustrating to see local press and, indeed publications outside the borough, continuing to actively promote the site when we have asked them not to.”