THE future of a new education centre for Fleet Pond is hanging in the balance as Hart officers decide whether to "call in" a decision to allow it to be go ahead. The verdict is expected tomorrow (Friday).

The row, which has split the controlling Conservative group, follows a Cabinet majority decision to approve the idea. The centre has been mooted for some years but was not allowed on the Pond area itself, as it is a site of special scientific interest.

Now developers of the Fleet Waterfront Business Park have offered land and a £50,000 grant towards the building.

Coun. Janet Pearson, one of the five councillors asking for the review of the decision, told the Star on Tuesday: "I am not against them having a centre I just want them to slow down a little bit. It has revenue implications and Hart is broke at the moment."

Outspoken senior councillor Peter Carr said the Fleet Pond Society and local councillors had put in a lot of effort on the project.

"We have behind the scenes activity that is detrimental to the benefit of the ratepayer," he said. "I personally fully support the centre. We need that facility so we can teach people about the environment in which we live.

"I don't believe councillors who are against this centre are serving the best interests of the people who elected them. They are serving the interests of a small minority who don't want anything in their back gardens and they should be ashamed of themselves."

Fleet Pond Society Chairman Mr Colin Gray said the society was keeping fingers and toes crossed that the centre would go ahead. The society had calculated that it would break even within three years of opening. He said it would provide improved facilities so that local school groups could spend longer studying the pond.