THE controversial proposed education centre for Fleet Pond remains on stream this week after Hart Chief Executive Jules Samuels rejected a bid by five councillors to have the go ahead decision "called in" for re-examination.
Now the £92,000 scheme put forward for a site on the Waterfront Business Park near Fleet Station moves towards its next hurdle -obtaining planning consent from the district's Development Control committee.
The bid to stop it came from Couns. Richard Hunt, Janet Pearson, Mark Fullbrook, Michael Poulton and Sean Haffey. But the Chief Executive said she was not satisfied that conditions for a call in had been met. She pointed out that rules stated that the procedure should only be carried out in exceptional circumstances.
Among the seven complaints made by the quintet were that Coun. Sharyn Wheale had a prejudicial interest in the matter. But she was said to have declared an interest at the cabinet meeting and that was one which did not require her to withdrawn from the debate or decision making.
Other issues covered were parking, construction costs, law and order, lease terms and the charitable status of the Fleet Pond Society.
Coun. Wheale praised the developer of the business park, Stephen Padmore, for offering the land at a peppercorn rent as well as £50,000 towards the costs and other financial aid.
"It is wonderful that the developer, a keen birdwatcher himself, should offer this after reading that we could not build on the pond area because it is a site of special scientific interest," she said." Doing it like this will save taxpayers' money from what was allocated to the scheme. I feel that the education centre is vital for the future of Fleet Pond both to educate children and the public that use it to respect it and treat it properly."
Fleet Society Pond Chairman, Mr Colin Gray, commented: "I am delighted that we can now go forward with the planning application from the developer."