An environmental group is calling for a “respectful conversation” about the future of Kings Pond.

Feelings are running high after a draft management plan produced by fisheries specialists Aquamaintain for Alton Town Council proposed separating the pond from the River Wey which has fed it for 200 years.

Dave Tickner – of Alton and Villages Local Action for Nature (AVLAN), the nature group of the Alton Climate Action Network – said: “People must make up their own minds how far the health of the River Wey and having a greater diversity of wildlife in and around Kings Pond matter, compared with the beauty of the current stretch of open water with its wildfowl which families so enjoy feeding. This is a complex subject with no easy answers.”

AVLAN wants residents and visitors to enjoy Kings Pond as a lovely amenity for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy, a healthy habitat for thriving and diverse wildlife, and a space that is not going to cost a fortune to maintain.

Emphasising that the plan out for public consultation is just a draft, the group said it saw the document as the “starting point” for Alton Town Council’s “intended conversation with the public” about the future of Kings Pond and the River Wey, and the balance between amenity value, biodiversity and cost.

Mr Tickner added: “We want the current conversation to be informed by the best available information and expertise.”