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Update June 2012

June 2012 Update - An apology!
The first full meeting of the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, after the High Court judgement, took place on 17th May. Needless to say the usual political points scoring and recriminations were present but, as expected, the Conservative motion on the way forward was passed by their in-built majority.
On the positive side, the motion does acknowledge that the Manydown land was acquired to achieve a properly planned comprehensive development. Despite the political differences there was a consensus that this must be progressed quickly with recommendations to the full council at their next meeting in July. Importantly the Council Leader, Councillor Sanders, accepted that the Council had acted unlawfully and apologised during the debate for the Council’s actions. The full text of the motion can be found on the BDBC website.
Given their previous record, SOLVE is well aware that the council leadership would like to delay inclusion of the Manydown land in the Core Strategy so we will be watching the process and the actions of local councillors very carefully. Whilst we wish to see a speedy solution we cannot accept a Core Strategy which does not include a balanced plan for housing across the Borough. We are confident that, given a level playing field, the Loddon Valley sites are the least suitable for development.
Election outcome and Councilor Cubitt resigns the Tory whip.
Elections May 3rd - The result of the local council elections was very successful for candidates supported by SOLVE.
Councillor Sven Godesen, being a well respected Conservative Councillor mindful of his residents’ views, was elected by a massive vote in Basing. Congratulations to Sven.
Congratulations also to Chris Tomblin, Independent, who defeated Conservative Councillor, Rhydian Vaughan, by a margin of 776 votes to 603 in Bramley and Sherfield. Voters opted for a change and an independent viewpoint.
Commiserations to Jo Walke, Independent, who fought a very hard campaign and came a strong second to Conservative Councillor Elaine Still by 900 votes to 735 in Chineham.
Elsewhere in the Borough, Stephen Reid, Conservative Borough Councillor for Buckskin, lost his seat to Labour. Reid was heavily involved in the Manydown controversy and “unlawful” Core Strategy.
Since the elections Councillor Onnalee Cubitt has resigned ‘the Conservative whip’ and become an Independent Conservative. In an interview with the Gazette, Councillor Cubitt said – “I will continue to represent my ward to the best of my ability, and can do that better as an Independent than I can in the Conservative Group. I felt I was being disenfranchised from my residents and my position was becoming increasingly untenable.”  Onnalee, worried that the Manydown issue would be swept under the carpet with no one held accountable, said – “This is one of the most shameful episodes in the Council’s history. Tens of thousands of taxpayers’ money has been spent on this issue and it cannot be ignored.”
This, and the other Council changes, means that the Conservative majority over all others is now a slender 2 seats.  SOLVE will work with all our local Councillors and others in helping to develop the revised Core Strategy bearing in mind the High Court Judgement. If Councillors put their constituents first then they will find that working with SOLVE will be beneficial.
Our principle aim remains the defence of the Loddon Valley from damaging and unnecessary development. There is still a long way to go but for the time being we await developments in the run up to the Full Council meeting on July 12th.
Telephone contact Kate Tuck - 01256 324043.
Peter Bloyce
1st June 2012
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