'The Traitors' creator faces backlash over 'wildlife pond' plans

Creator behind hit BBC show The Traitors faces backlash over plans to build a ‘wildlife pond’ at his multi-million pound Cotswold home as locals say it is big enough to be ‘lake’

  • The creator of BBC’s ‘The Traitors’ has angered neighbours with plans for a pond 
  • Stephen Lambert has permission to build a pond and a wildflower meadow
  • Neighbours say the pond is the size of ‘a lake’ and the works are a ‘vanity project’

His new reality series saw contestants secretly kill each other off for a show ‘built on strategy and suspicion’.

And it seems the man behind gripping BBC show The Traitors, Stephen Lambert, has become the focus of intrigue himself.

Hosted by Claudia Winkleman, the series saw the Strictly star pick three ‘traitors’ who plotted to secretly bump off their fellow contestants, known as ‘faithfuls’, without being caught in a bid to win up to £120,000.

Some 2.87 million tuned in to watch the opening episode last month after England’s first World Cup game.

The addictive show became a sensation on social media, likened to parlour game Wink murder.

BBC Radio 2 DJ Scott Mills said it was the ‘BEST REALITY SHOW OF 2022’, while newsreader Dan Walker asked if pubs were showing the final

But now locals near his Cotswolds home raised eyebrows over Mr Lambert’s plans to build a ‘wildlife pond’.

Mr Lambert, 63, and his wife, columnist Jenni Russell, 62, submitted an application in May to construct a pond 3,000 m2 and three metres deep in the grounds of the property they bought for over £1million in the early Noughties.

The Traitors creator Stephen Lambert has faced backlash over plans to build a ‘wildlife pond’ at his multi-million pound Cotswold home as locals say it is big enough to be ‘lake’

The show sees contestants sign up before a small number of players are secretly selected to be The Traitors . The rest of the players are known as ‘The Faithful’ and none of The Faithful know who The Traitors are 

He faced push back from locals and the Parish Council who objected on the grounds that they believe the pond is in fact a ‘lake’.

Last month, Mr Lambert was given the green light for his garden plans which also involves the restoration of a wildflower meadow which, the application claims, together with the pond, will create optimal living conditions for bats, newts, birds, butterflies, insects, bees, invertebrates, hedgehogs and water voles among other creatures.

Some locals expressed fears that a pond could cause flooding and that the construction work would have ‘an unnecessary harmful impact on the village environment, not only during construction, but also possibly in the long term, due to the need for ongoing regular maintenance’.

The area, covering 1.9 hectares, sits within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Parish Council said the plans have caused ‘a great deal of local interest – and anxiety’.

They said the size is ‘excessive’ and ‘equivalent to several Olympic Swimming Pools of water’.

One local, who declined to be named, told the Mail: ‘People in the village who I’ve spoken to [about it] think it’s too big, rather silly and a sort of vanity project. It is a very big pond. It is huge.

‘I can see no point of doing it. And also, this nonsense about pretty flowers and rewilding and trees and all that.’ Another resident, who also did not wish to be identified, said they did not think the field was the right place for the pond.

‘I don’t know why you would build a pond at the top of the village,’ they said. ‘How is the pond going to flow when there is no natural water up there?

BBC’s captivating series The Traitors is set to reach its dramatic conclusion today, where viewers will learn whether a Traitor or a Faithful will bag the prize money (L-R Hannah, Kieran, Meryl, Aaron, Wilfred)

‘It’s just going to go stagnant unless they’re going to have a manmade pump in it.

‘I don’t mind people doing environmental good, and great to put things back to nature, but I don’t think it’s the right place for a pond.’ However, another resident welcomed the proposed wildlife pond and indicated that they knew the Lamberts and have no issue with their plans.

The local authority has ‘no objections’, and a landscape officer said the pond and plans would be a ‘benefit to biodiversity and enhancement of the landscape character’, documents submitted to the council show.

A senior conservation and design officer has said the area would be ‘unharmed’ adding: ‘The proposed pond is to be located in a natural dip in the land and although appearing large on plan, by virtue of its location and the topography of the land it would be unobtrusive in the setting of the Conservation Area.’ An ecological appraisal in May found no records of protected species within 300m of the site.

The planning consultancy, working on behalf of Mr Lambert and his wife, addressed concerns that the pond is a lake.

In a letter to the District Council they wrote: ‘The pond itself, is not large enough to qualify as a lake; ponds are defined as small water bodies between 1m2 and 2ha, a water body having a surface area larger than 2ha is termed a lake.’

But despite objections the council permitted the application on November 25, with Mr Lambert granted three years to complete the works.

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