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July Report (Water Stress)

 
Important meetings take place before the end of July including the Council Planning and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee (P&IOSCOM) and Best for Basingstoke (BFB) meetings with Planning Officers and Maria Miller MP.
 
The P&IOSCOM meeting was on 16th June and the agenda is available on the BDBC website. This includes a report before the committee on the future housing requirement to be included in the Borough Core Strategy. The Planning Officers identified four options; they are 900, 722, 594 or 400 houses per year until 2027. They say they can work with either middle two options. However, SOLVE believes that if the public consultation is to be accepted then 400 per year should be carried forward. It is also our belief that any figure less than 600 would not require housing on Greenfield sites.  This is not the view of the Borough Planning Office.
 
Latest – At the meeting on 16th June the Councilors accepted the 594 option with a number of conditions including further work to be done on the 400hpa. The Council webcast has coverage of the debate.
 
Site selection is likely to take place at the P&I OSCOMs on 20th or 21st July. We will all live with the consequences of their decisions; your attendance is vital. 
 
Water Stress - Basingstoke is top of the list for every household to get a water meter. Some 33,000 homes will be fitted with meters in the next year. It has been a concern of many, including SOLVE, that excessive housing in the Borough will add to the already stressed water supply. The following are extracts from the SE Water website.
 
“The South East of England has been classed by the Environment Agency as an area of serious water stress. This means that there is real concern over the amount of water available for the increasing population.
The Water Industry Act 1999 (Chapter 9, Part 1, Section 7) and subordinate Regulations, prescribe the circumstances in which we can fit meters. These regulations have recently been amended to include the power to compulsory meter households if the water company’s area has been determined to be an area of serious water stress.
By starting in these places (Basingstoke inc) first, we are tackling the areas where there is most concern about how much water there is naturally available in the environment, compared with how much we all currently use.”
 
SE Water also says that “customers on water meters use 10% less water than those who are not”. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that even the lowest option for borough housing will negate any savings after just a few years. As far as we are aware there are no other immediate plans to increase supply.
 
Landscape Study – Stephen Reid, Chairman of the P&IOSCOM, has replied to my email. For details of this, updates and reports on the P&IOSCOM etc. visit our website - www.SOLVELoddon.org .
 
Peter Bloyce
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