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SOLVE Report June 2011

SOLVE Report June 2011
 
Hustings - A full report with photographs can be found on the SOLVE website. Congratulations to Steven Marks, Basing, and Martin Biermann, Chineham, on their re-election on 5th May. SOLVE was particularly pleased that Steven Marks who farms on the land owned by Kings Fund confirmed that he "would do anything legally possible to continue with the family farm".
 
Landscape Capacity Study 2010 – This report is in the public domain and can be found on the Basingstoke Council Website under the Environment and Planning/Evidence Base. This weighty document has 393 pages and –
 
“- - - has been produced to inform the evidence base for the Basingstoke and Deane Local Development Framework by assessing the relative capacity of the landscape to accommodate development at specific sites in Basingstoke and its surrounding villages.”
 
At the meeting of the Council ‘Planning and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee’ (P&IOSCOM) on 24th March it was decided not to discuss this item. SOLVE are very concerned that such an important study may not get the scrutiny it deserves and therefore not feature as legitimate evidence by an Inspector. The Chairman said he and others had “misgivings” but did not say what these were. The study is in the public domain and SOLVE believes the public deserves more than a one word explanation. We have written to the P&IOSCOM Chairman, Stephen Reid, asking him to explain the “misgivings”.
 
There are a number of reports informing the LDF Evidence Base including, amongst many others, the SHLAA, the Water Cycle Study and the Transport Assessment, all of which have been the subject of scrutiny by the P&IOSCOM. 
 
Meeting with Planning Officers, 14th April – This helped both sides get a better understanding of each other’s point of view. The Officers said that recommendations to the Council will be based on evidence – including Infrastructure, Landscape, Water and Population Forecasts. Housing numbers will be based on zero net migration. The issue of calculating population forecasts remains disputed. The submission from Best for Basingstoke (BFB) contains calculations on household size which more correctly reflect recent trends. The planning office figures are based on extrapolations from the 2001 census but Officers have asked for more details from our demographic information. Our concerns over housing targets being exceeded in recent years were met with a rather limp response that “targets could be reviewed at any time”. The Officers said they have a “Greenfield release mechanism”, which would be invoked only if needed. The next meeting is scheduled for 14th June.
 
We are preparing for important P&IOSCOM meetings in June and July where recommendations for housing numbers in the Borough and site selections are expected. At the time of writing the following dates are worth noting in your diaries, 16th/22nd June and 20th/21st July.
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