A former Alton town councillor has slammed plans which he fears would turn Kings Pond into a “muddy swamp”.
The new draft management plan for Kings Pond – produced for Alton Town Council by Aquamaintain in consultation with the Environment Agency – proposes cutting off the pond from the River Wey and turning it into a water meadow.
It has been put out for public consultation by the town council. Interactive drop-in sessions will be held at the pond on October 25 from 2pm to 3pm, October 30 from 10am to 11am, November 2 from 10am to 11am and November 7 from 1pm to 2pm.
There will also be a static display and drop-in sessions at the Alton Assembly Rooms on November 18 from 3pm to 7pm and November 19 from 10am to midday, plus online and paper surveys.
In a letter to the council, the Environment Agency said it had “long held an aspiration” to cut off the pond from the river, but Gideon Cristofoli – who raked the weir to improve the river’s water flow through the pond – wanted more detail.
He said: “The Environment Agency wants to improve the ‘quality’ of the water downstream as the bird poo puts nutrients in at this point that they don’t want.
“We have yet to be told why the desires of the Environment Agency are more important than the needs of residents to enjoy this space as it is. We need real evidence and the real reasons why we should be persuaded to undertake such a drastic change to the pond.
“We need public consultation as people may not want the beautiful open water to be turned into a muddy swamp.
“Who will pay for this? Is this just a convenient way of getting rid of the maintenance issues we know have been criticised? As the water runs through channels under the flats, what will stop flooding of the flats?
“Kings Pond is a unique ecology developed over hundreds of years with a huge variety of nature. Should the town destroy it for the benefit of the Environment Agency, who will most likely sell the water to be sold back to us at ridiculous prices by commercial businesses?”
Open spaces committee chair Cllr Suzie Burns said: “At this stage it is not for members to give any view on the draft, as it is for the community to give their comments and what their preferred options are for Kings Pond through the consultation.
“It will be debated by members once the consultation is concluded and the responses assessed to see whether to make changes to the plan prior to adoption. No decisions have been made.”