One man armed with a pitchfork has launched a crusade to restore Kings Pond to its former glory.

Alton town councillor Gideon Cristofoli wielded the implement for four days to clear a weir on the River Wey. As a result stagnant water drained away and the level of the pond fell by around two feet.

But Cllr Cristofoli knows this is only the start of a long road back for Kings Pond.

He said: "The pond has deteriorated over several years and residents haven’t got very far with their complaints to the town council.

"We need better communication and involvement of the public, because public engagement helps to get it right."

To start the process, Cllr Cristofoli has formed a Kings Pond Residents’ Steering Group. It meets at the Alton House Hotel tonight (Thursday) from 7-9pm.

Cllr Cristofoli said: "Everyone is invited to this meeting, in which we will be discussing the terms of reference suggested by Alton Town Council and ways in which we can improve communication and actions.

"We want as many residents as possible to come forward and give their ideas as to what needs to happen at the pond, how and when."

A rat problem at the pond – which some blame on rodents fleeing the Coors brewery demolition – led to an eight-week town council ban on feeding the birds which was finally lifted on Tuesday.

Cllr Cristofoli said: "People are getting angry because the birds are starving.

"Geese are flying around all day looking for food, ducks are wandering over the road and people are getting attacked by birds for opening a bag of crisps.

"I was feeding the ducks with floating food, not leaving food by the pond.

"If we do that, the ducks are fed and if the weir is clear what’s left flows down the river."

To attend the meeting, or get a copy of the papers beforehand, email [email protected]