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SOLVE July 2015

Local Plan Comments - SOLVE and CountryWatch

The public consultations, on the changes since last October, ended on 22 June 2015. SOLVE had originally decided not to comment at this stage since we had already made our views known in previous consultations. However, given that CountryWatch commented and requested our support we decided to support their submission.

The SOLVE comments are as follows:-

“SOLVE has commented previously on the Local Plan at various stages with objections to the proposed development site East of Basingstoke, SS3.9, and other sites in the Loddon Valley. Whilst regretting that a further 100 hpa has to be found from Greenfield sites, SOLVE supports the Country Watch view that, given the evidence, BAS 133, Hounsome Fields, can be added to the site allocation.

We would remind all involved that the Flood Risk Sequential Testing found Hounsome Fields to have a lower flood risk than sites to the East of Basingstoke in the Loddon Valley which are high risk and not recommended for additional housing.”

The CountryWatch comments are as follows:-

“In October 2013 Country Watch responded to the Draft Local Plan consultation with an objection to the proposed Development site East of Basingstoke SS3.9. Paragraph 13 of that response acknowledged that in the Plan period greenfield sites would need to be developed but believed, for reasons set out in the preceding paragraphs 1-12 incl, that both the proposed sites SS3.9 East of Basingstoke and SS3.7 Redlands were un-securely located and should be deleted as unsound.

Country Watch believed that an alternative and better choice for a similar number of dwellings would be BAS 133 Hounsome Fields, and supported that belief with an initial non-exclusive list of comparative advantageous / dis-advantageous elements between SS3.9/SS3.7 and BAS133. Country Watch continues to believe Hounsome Fields would make a justifiable development site in preference to SS3.9/SS3.7 sites - and therefore SUPPORTS the proposed modification :- "The allocation of an additional housing site for 750 homes at Hounsome Fields in South West Basingstoke" and the consequential Policy SS3.12.”

Although the revised plan does not propose large scale house building between Old Basing and Newnham that was originally suggested, there remain serious concerns about excessive housebuilding throughout the Borough. SOLVE shares the concern of many residents and our MP, Maria Miller, that the massive hole in the budget (£190M shortfall in the February 2015 Infrastructure Plan) means that infrastructure will not be in place to support the housebuilding programme forced on Basingstoke by short-term National policies.

Basingstoke has been designated a “Growth Hub” by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Basingstoke is approaching full employment and a continued focus on growth can only come at the expense of drawing in new commuters and an increased population to the town. The practical outcome will be thousands more houses, pressure on schools, increased traffic congestion, inadequate water/sewage provision and the loss of green space. Given the budget shortfall it is difficult to envisage how this growth will improve the quality of life in the Borough.

In the meantime SOLVE stands ready to counter any attempt to increase housing development in the Loddon Valley.

Peter Bloyce

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