Thank goodness for Fleet's only independent councillor, Denis Gotel, for without him who would be leading the fight for ordinary Fleet people, motorists, shoppers and shopkeepers alike?

If we had a few more like him on the council Fleet would get its much-needed inner relief road, taking through traffic away from the town centre.

The route exists, it has all been approved and the money has been provided by developers - £2.2 million of it. The sum total available for spending on Fleet road improvements is 2.5 million.

Conservative spin has it that this bonanza must be spent on a ludicrous scheme to foul up the town centre, much favoured by Coun. Sharyn Wheale and other local Tories. On February 27 we printed her assertions that unless this money was spent on a scheme to "improve" the High Street it would be "thrown away" and perhaps even go to other Hampshire towns.

Elvetham Heath developers knocked that one on the head this week, saying the exact reverse is true. IF their cash is earmarked for road humps, build-outs, new paving slabs and all the other usual stupidity they could ask for the money back!

The existing road does not, repeat NOT need £2.5 million spent on it, as I have already said and as Denis Gotel has tried to get across in Hart Council chamber. So a few paving slabs are cracked. So what? Replacing them should be part of the council's ongoing job remit anyway.

As for removing on-street parking at certain times, what's the idiotic idea? Killing the town?

This utter fiasco shows that our present crop of county and local councillors are not best suited to represent local people's interests. They should be removed-and here I am not just talking about Tories, but also the Lib Dems who have sat by and allowed all this to happen.

Remember Independent Coun. Keki? He didn't always get it right, but at least he listened. We need about ten new Kekis now. Anyone taking early retirement, still with a sharp and independent mind and with time on his hands? Someone who believes that roads are for driving down and should be improved wherever possible?

Someone - or a group of someones - who know all councils sluice our money down the drain and should be sorted out forthwith?

These lively-minded souls, preferably with business experience, need to come forward and build support, in Hart and elsewhere, as elections loom each May.

The people need a strong, independent voice on all local bodies. Party politics is not working well in this area.