Alton public airs fears for future of Kings Pond

Saturday 26th November 2022 5:00 pm
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Kings Pond in Alton on August 23rd 2022.
Kings Pond (Alton Herald/Paul Coates )

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The Save Kings Pond group and many members of the public drove home their message to Alton Town Council at its latest full council meeting.

Despite the pond not being on the agenda, pond lovers packed the public gallery at Alton Town Hall on November 9 to express their fears.

They were concerned for the pond’s future after fisheries specialists Aquamaintain produced a draft management plan for the pond which suggested cutting it off from the River Wey.

A public consultation on the plan ends on Sunday.

Save Kings Pond founder Andrew Kuttner asked the council questions about its consultation survey, including how it would decide if respondents did not support the plan to separate pond and river, what level of response was required for the survey to be considered a reliable barometer of views, whether responses from people outside the GU34 postcode would be included, and whether the council would leave the pond as it is but with better management if the separation plan was not supported by the public.

His questions were answered by Alton town clerk Leah Coney. She said: “It will be for the council to determine whether to adopt the draft management plan unaltered or whether to change any of the content.

“There is no minimum engagement level stipulated by the council.

“Responses from outside GU34 will be included.

“If the council makes the decision that the currently proposed primary action is not included within the final version of the management plan, then alternative wording and/or an alternative primary action will need to be agreed prior to adoption.”

Mr Kuttner said people could complete the survey “multiple times”, filling it in himself and then again “on behalf of the key stakeholders” – swans, herons, moorhens, coots, geese and terrapins.

Save Kings Pond said of the separation plan: “Who, other than those of us fighting to save Kings Pond, are giving any thought to its inhabitants, which will all, effectively, be culled if this abomination proceeds?

“On behalf of the people of Alton, and the wildlife at Kings Pond, Save Kings Pond calls on Alton Town Council to abandon plans to destroy it and to ensure it is managed to the level deserved of such a special place for nature and Alton.”

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