WELL-HEELED residents in ‘Britain’s most photographed village’ are livid after its medieval duck pond was accidentally drained, killing fish and causing a stench.
Pretty Finchingfeld in Essex, home to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, has been described as the most picturesque village in England.
The pond is at its centre, surrounded by ancient cottages, a tea room and three pubs.
However, villagers were aghast to see the water drain away after a sluice gate was left open.
Local Roy Cox, 76, believes hundreds of fish have been lost.
He said: ‘The pond was completely empty. All the fish have died — we just have one or two sticklebacks in there now because the trout have died.’
Finchingfield parish council said the water loss was unintentional and was caused during sluice gate repairs.
Roy added: ‘I can’t see a solution on how we are going to get water back in there. We have had a dry winter and this will have an impact on the lake being refilled.’
‘We are going to have lots of rain this weekend but the amount of water needed is biblical.
‘Saturday is one of our busiest days and people were sitting next to really smelly mud.’
The Environment Agency said ten fish were lost, adding: ‘Work was being carried out on the sluice gate in Finchingfield Brook, on behalf of the parish council who operate the structure. This caused the water level to drop significantly.
‘After a thorough investigation at the site, there are not thought to be any further detrimental impacts on the environment.’