On January 28, 2023, I wrote to Alton Town Council as follows:

The legacy of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee  under the chairs of Cllrs Jones and Burns is sadly summed up in the screen shot below (transcribed for this letter), which was taken from the Facebook Save Kings Pond site:

Megan: Can’t use that path in my wheelchair. It’s a shame.

Vicky: They should have put a proper path down in the first place as they were advised to do. This path is useless for people with buggies and wheelchair users like myself, especially when there’s inclement weather.

Tony: Vicky, it was terrible yesterday, wet and slippery.

As you know during the meetings between OSC and Friends of Kings Pond, I provided a specification and estimated cost (£40,000) for replacing the path with concrete edged tarmac, which I thought had been accepted as the way ahead.

My question for the council on February 1 was whether the £40,000 is part of the £250,000 allocated to Kings Pond on January 18 and, if not, would it kindly increase the budget to £290,000?

At the meeting on February 1, Alton Town Council responded, through the mayor, with a prepared statement as follows;

“Thank you for your representation. The matter of Kings Pond is not on the agenda this evening. 

“At the meeting of the Council on January 18, which you attended, you will be aware the council has not specified what the funds set aside for the Pond will be spent on, as the draft management plan as not yet been adopted. 

“Councillor Bayliss has already requested the draft plan be reviewed further to consider the inclusion of wider issues not currently included and paths will be added to that.

“It is therefore not appropriate to make any changes to the funds set aside for the pond until we know more.”

In response to my follow-up question as to how the amount of £250,000 was calculated, Cllr Titterington asserted it was the cost of the last Kings Pond dredging factored for inflation to bring it up to date. Thus the cost of making good the gravel path was not included. 

This, in effect, means Alton Town Council has yet again been shown to be guilty of prevarication over undertaking work at Kings Pond that is vital for the safety of residents. 

In this regard I rely on numerous emails from myself and David Dodd over the past five years, along with his petition and the photographs I have included with this letter, which show the breaking up of the surface resulting in a slippery and thus hazardous mess. 

Given that when the gravel path went out to tender the specification called for an all-weather path, it has clearly failed – as has ATC.

Wouldn’t it be an appropriate swansong if ATC was to raise its collective hand and for once admit it was wrong with an undertaking to forthwith replace the path?

John Quincey