FLEET roads campaigner Denis Gotel went into the lions' den at Winchester and received a standing ovation for his 12 minute presentation to the county council.

Retired civil servant Denis organised a mass petition a few months ago against Hampshire's scheme for Fleet Road and the surrounding area which would see the traffic reduced to crawling pace through a reduced speed limit, traffic humps, extra pedestrian crossings and "pinch" points.

The county also plans to introduce more so called "calming measures" in Albert Street, Clarence Road and Connaught Road and to rule out for ever the Fleet inner relief road. Contributions to pay for the relief road have been collected from property developers for many years.

But despite the warm reception from rank and file county councillors, Denis fears that the county intends to press on with its plans. He told them that the Hampshire constitution said that "citizens could expect to be consulted on significant issues."

Yet he claimed that the county had bulldozed the Fleet Road "traffic calming" scheme through and set aside the petition from Fleet people, who did not want it. It had also dismissed a call from Hart for more public consultation.

He said that a year ago the North East Hampshire Transportation Strategy Panel had backed the measures and the rejection of the relief road. Coun. John Stocks, a non-panel member, had taken part in the debate although his home was only " a stone's throw away" from the intended line of the inner relief road.

Mr Gotel also claimed that the public consultation had been faulty and the survey sheet designed to achieve a biased outcome.He returned £1.68 lighter after being told he had not provided enough copies of his presentation. After making the extra copies the county gave him a bill for the copying.

l Star Editor Alan Franklin comments: The lunatics seem to be running the asylum at The Kremlin, Winchester, arrogantly steamrolling idiotic roadblocking schemes through to the detriment of all who need to get around on the roads.Tomorrow, Friday, nominations for Hart's local election candidates have to be in at the council offices. Is it too late to hope that Denis or other people with commonsense will stand against those who seem to think that road tank traps are desirable?