The Friends of Kings Pond’s secretary Paula Langley and chairman John Quincey have resigned amid fears the pond could be taken ‘offline’ – disconnected from the River Wey.
Cllr Langley said: “The pond has been fed this way for years and my concern is not necessarily what they intend to do but why. There are many options to discuss. There is just no transparency or project management going on.”
Alton Town Council said: “The town council was sorry to hear Paula Langley had resigned as the secretary of the Friends of Kings Pond. While the group has only been running for the past year or so, it has been important for the council to have direct community liaison with the site, which is greatly loved by many local residents.
“As Ms Langley is all too aware in her role as a district councillor for the town, it takes time to work through the feasibility of the options that both the group have put forward as well as those suggested by the Environment Agency, as well as time to secure funding.
“While we appreciate her frustration that matters do not move as quickly as she might like, the reality is some of the proposals are likely to cost several hundred thousand pounds, and due to the River Wey flowing through the site can only be carried out with Environment Agency approval as well as with public support.
“It would be completely disingenuous to say the town council has a policy to ‘deliberately kill off the pond’, and politicising Kings Pond by using it to criticise the leadership of the council is not helpful.
“It is not a binary option to either support Kings Pond or support another council-owned site. The aspiration is to ensure residents have the best possible experience across all of the council’s portfolio of open spaces, whether for sport, leisure or recreation.
“It is upsetting Ms Langley has chosen to criticise town councillors when they commit a considerable amount of time and effort to their roles and ultimately ensure they are not reacting in a knee-jerk fashion.
“The council is committed to ensuring that full due diligence is undertaken on all options before any money would be committed to projects that Ms Langley and her colleagues have proposed. With a project of the size and complexity of Kings Pond, this will inevitably require some time.”