HELP US STOP THE CONSTRUCTION OF 3000 HOUSES WHAT CAN YOU DO?
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SOLVE - The Council in turmoil.
Authored by: Peter Bloyce on Wednesday, October 05 2011 @ 04:50 PM UTC

'Basingboy', thank you for your comments. I refer you to the sentence in the first paragraph of my report.

"Therefore its (Manydown) exclusion puts pressure on the rest of the Borough to take more houses."

This came out throughout the debate from residents from all parts of the Borough. Perhaps I should have emphasised this more.

However, you should consider the following FACTS:

  • SOLVE are against building large scale developments on ANY greenfield site, Manydown included.
  • We do not believe that Basingstoke needs 4000 new homes on greenfield sites.
  • Basingstoke has already built more than its fair share of new homes in the last 10 years.
  • We rank 3rd in terms of new homes built in the South East and we have enough housing supply in land already committed or on ‘Brownfields’ for at least 9 years
  • We already live in the most populated part of Europe.
  • Our water and sewage systems already fail national and international quality standards.
  • Our transport, schools and healthcare facilities are already overstretched.
  • An independent survey of ALL Basingstoke residents made it clear that 74% of residents did not want any major new housing development....anywhere!

All of these are reasons to hold the Council to their commitment not to build on ANY greenfield site unless 'absolutely necessary' and not to build ANY new 'Major Development Areas'.

However, if the Council insist on ignoring the wishes of its residents we feel it is only fair and reasonable that ALL Greenfield sites identified in the SHLAA are considered EQUALLY. The exclusion of Manydown from the process was done at the eleventh hour and the residents of Basingstoke deserve a full explanation as to why and the process behind this. Particularly as it was £10M of their money which purchased this land in the first place.

 

No matter where we live, we will expect their Council to be fair, reasonable, balanced, evidence based, legal and to act constitutionally. The facts suggest this may not be the case at present. If we are wrong, The Council, members and Officers, have nothing to hide in subjecting themselves to an external, independent review of the process and why Manydown is no longer being considered for development at this time. We call on them to do so.

Peter Bloyce

SOLVE

Edited on Wednesday, October 05 2011 @ 04:53 PM UTC by Peter Bloyce
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SOLVE - The Council in turmoil.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 06 2011 @ 09:45 PM UTC

Dear Peter

Thanks for taking time to respond. I agree with your comments and with your "facts" (although think you'll find that Basingstoke is now second only to Milton Keynes in new developments, once the figure from the past two years are taken into account!), but I'm afraid that I am not reassured by your first comment. Because there is a logic gap in that argument -  Manydown's exclusion doesn't put pressure on other greenfield areas in the borough. The shared argument that campaigners across the borough should have in common is that greenfield development is unnecessary (as well as being counter to government policy about the protection of prime agricultural land). In which case SOLVE should be delighted that Manydown has been excluded because it strengthens the case about greenfield protection. This rather extreme talk of judicial review, and the focussing upon the exclusion of Manydown (and the fervent calls by individuals like Councillor Biermann to develop Manydown seemingly at all costs) is logically at odds with the message you just posted in reply . Why is SOLVE not identifying more brownfield sites (they certainly do exist) and focussing upon the 1000 empty homes? Why is it only the exclusion of Manydown - which an Inspector has alreday ruled on, of course, and nothing has changed since then - that SOLVE is raising? Maria Miller has warned before about the dangers of creating an "east versus west" divide in the town (especially as this pits the wealthier east against less prosperous parts in the west) and on the need to focus on the bigger picture.

It's a real shame that individuals like Councillors Biermann and Watts have come out so strongly in support of Manydown development, even though this has failed in the past (listen to the people in the borough, councillors!). I do hope SOLVE won't make this mistake but will think carefully about its tactics from here on. Because you WILL lose the support of people from other parts of the town - people who want to protect our shared interests and heritage - if you focus relentlessly on Manydown's exclusion, as has been the case in recent comments. Our only chance of retaining Basingstoke's identity is by resisting ALL greenfield development, not by pitting one side against the other (and thereby doing the planners work for them). We don't need to develop on greenfield sites, whether in east or west, so I hope SOLVE will keep that message to the fore, and not create needless 'them or us' divisions. Otherwise, I'm afraid your message will get lost, and ultimately so will the greenfields we all wish to protect.

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