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Hustings Meetings

Hustings – Meetings 16th and 23rd April 2011

SOLVE arranged two meetings for Borough Council Candidates in the May local elections; Chineham on 16th April and Old Basing on 23rd April. Attendance at the Chineham meeting was disappointing whilst at the Old Basing meeting over 50 people attended.

 

Article in Basingstoke Observer on Hustings

ARTICLE IN BASINGSTOKE OBSERVER ON SOLVE ORGANISED LOCAL ELECTION HUSTINGS

The Basingstoke Observer has a good article on the Local Election Hustings being organised by SOLVE Saturday 16th April at Chineham Village Hall and Saturday 23rd April at Old Basing Village Hall.

Read the Article here: http://www.basingstokeobserver.co.uk/news/community/chance-to-quiz-election-candidates-on-environment-1255

Hustings Meetings

SOLVE - Your Chance To Question Politicians On Plans To Build 9000 homes and Hold Local Councillors to Account.

Where & When:

Chineham Village Hall on Saturday April 16th at 10:15 to 11:30am for Chineham Candidates.

Old Basing Village Hall on Saturday April 23rd at 10:15am to 11:30am for Basing & Lychpit Candidates.

SOLVE - Basinga April 2011

SOLVE – The Process Grinds On
I reported the initial results from the Council new housing consultation in the last edition. These were discussed at length at the Council P&IOSCOM meeting on 17th February. With 75% of respondents rejecting large numbers of new housing in the Borough the opinions of the electorate could not be made clearer to Councillors. Members from SOLVE and other groups under the ‘Best for Basingstoke’ umbrella gave good presentations and additional evidence to the committee. A number of actions were taken away by Officers including further analysis, in particular the paper responses and other comments. A webcast of the meeting, over 4 hours, is available on the Council website.

SOLVE – 75% say “NO”

SOLVE – 75% say “NO”

The results from the Community Engagement on Housing numbers across the Borough is now available.

• 75% said NO to new homes in their local area.
• 65% said the level of housing growth in the Borough over the past 10 years, is ‘Too Much' for the future.
• The report conclusions interpret data in a way that supports more housing when in fact the overwhelming point of view from residents is that we have enough.
• SOLVE will be responding in full.

SOLVE – Report February 2011

SOLVE – Report February 2011
The Council’s housing numbers survey has now closed. SOLVE has continued the push to get as many supporters as possible to respond. We understand that the response so far from Old Basing and surrounding areas has been excellent and on behalf of SOLVE a big thank you to all that responded.
On December 5th our stand outside SPAR in Old Basing attracted a lot of interest, just about all of whom supported controlling housing numbers to protect Greenfield sites. Thanks to SPAR for the use of their shelter on such a cold day. We handed out nearly 300 questionnaires and SOLVE guidance notes. A stand outside Tesco in Chineham on 8th January was successful at raising the SOLVE profile and cause. Thanks to all our helpers and visitors to the stands.

Parish Newsletters - January 2011 -Tell the Council where to put their houses

Following the SHLAA debate the BDBC Planning Department has approved land to the East of Old Basing and Chineham as 'suitable' for development of up to 9000 homes. The Loddon Valley environment, biodiversity, our communities, not to mention the whole characteristic of the Borough, would be destroyed.

The Council is currently seeking residents’ opinions on how many homes Basingstoke needs and where they should be built. The consultation period ends on 14th January. Don’t let Christmas distract you. Have you responded to the Council ‘Community Engagement’ questionnaire on housing numbers? It is vital that residents in Old Basing, Newnham, Chineham and surrounding villages have a say. The Developers, Planners and Landowners have had their say, now it’s your turn.

New homes for your area - URGENT Consultation Ends 14th January

Things to bear in mind when answering the Basingstoke & Deane Consultation Document
 
DON'T FORGET EVERY MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD CAN HAVE THEIR SAY
- EACH EXTRA RESPONSE COUNTS!
 
First of all – The questionnaire is a request from our council for our opinions on new homes in our area.
THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE OUR OPINIONS RECORDED. If we don’t respond, the council will assume that those that do respond are they only people who have an opinion. We can be sure that the house builder, estate agents and land owners will return their forms!
 
How do I get the form?
The best place is the Basingstoke and Deane Today magazine as this has space for you to provide reasons for the “too much development” option;
 
Or from: 
 
The questionnaire is a mixture of multiple choice and free format boxes – this can lead to some anomalies and unintended consequences when the data is collated and presented to our councillors, who ultimately, make the choices on new housing on our behalf.
 
Just because it is presented as a questionnaire don’t feel constrained by the format – it is not a tax return or voting form, there are no spoilt papers.
If you don’t like the choices provided, make your own ones. Don’t feel because they are asking for a box to be ticked that you have to provide an answer – you won’t lose any marks.
 
We at SOLVE thought it would be helpful to give you some things to bear in mind about certain questions as they are presented: 
 
Q2      -       If you think new homes are needed in the borough for the needs of Basingstoke but not in Basing, Lychpit, Newnham or Chineham this is not the question to answer yes to – that one comes later.
           -       If you answer Yes, but there are things that make it difficult to develop in my area, your answer will potentially be taken as all that is stopping housing going ahead.
 
Q3      -       This question should be linked to Q2, but it isn’t. When they collate the answers, even if you answered no houses needed in Q2, if you were to tick for instance “Larger family homes” in Q3, they will count that as a vote for Larger family homes to be built in your area.
           -       You may feel that you would like to move within your local area, but no suitable houses have become available – this is more likely to be because of market circumstances, than shortage. Think of the buoyant market we had previously.
           -       This question asks for multiple ticks, each tick is a vote for more houses to be built in our local area. We would suggest using the Other types box, to write no new houses, if that was how you answered Q2, to even the votes.
 
Q4      -       This question is a good opportunity to recommend brown field sites and un-picturesque scrub land, in your local area, that would be improved by development. It is almost certain that some new houses will be required.
 
Q5      -       We would ask, when answering this, that you bear in mind that this question, in a questionnaire about new homes, is not about asking how the council should spend all the new money that the government has found in our booming economy to give away! Councils use facilities, as a trade, in negotiating planning permission with house builders. So, the more things we ask for, the more we are giving our councillors permission to make this trade on our behalf.
 
Q6      -       Basingstoke & Deane has been one of the fastest growth areas in the whole country in terms of housing over the past five years – in fact our council has built more houses than central government asked it to in the South East plan.
 
Q7      -       This question, would appear to be designed to justify the factors that the government process requires them to take in to account when determining housing numbers. It is much easier to tick one of their boxes, than to think of other things that should be taken into account. We would suggest that the other factors box is used to say “no destruction of countryside”; “capacity of the road infrastructure”; “capacity of the sewage system”
 
Q8      -       This question does not offer building on brown field sites or rezoning of commercial and industrial land into housing. We feel this is unfortunate, since many people avoid entering text in the boxes and it is therefore likely to skew the result to towards building on green field sites.
 
Q9      -       In this question you are asked to tick 3 boxes in the most and 3 in the least categories. Be careful this is a statistical trick. If you think, for instance, that saving our countryside is the most important factor it will only count as 1/3 of your vote, if you add two other ticks, since there is no weighting or ranking.

SOLVE – Meeting 6th November

It is a year since SOLVE was set up to fight proposals for building 9,000 houses in the Loddon Valley East of Basingstoke. Despite setbacks our resolve has hardened and support has strengthened.

The meeting of over 250 people at Old Basing Village hall on 6th November to discuss the ‘Community Engagement’ on future housing in the Borough demonstrated the strength of feeling behind our cause. There to answer questions were Maria Miller MP, Cllr Rob Golding (Council Cabinet Planning Portfolio Holder) and local Borough Councillors Onnalee Cubitt, Sven Godeson, Stephen Marks and Martin Biermann. Clive Pinder from SOLVE gave a short presentation of our current and past work and then opened up a ‘Question Time’ style discussion. Main points from the meeting were:-

  • The Council will take full account of the community engagement. The law now gives greater powers and control over housing decisions to local people.

  • The current infrastructure (transport, hospitals, schools etc.) is inadequate and changes must be in place before new housing is agreed. Money will not be available for some time.

  • An independent inspector at a public inquiry would have to be convinced that infrastructure is available to support new development.

  • There was agreement that the number of houses to be built in the Borough should be reduced. On average the Borough has built 1,315 houses a year in the 3 years to March 2010; we have the fastest house building rate in the UK.

  • Currently the Borough’s annual birth rate exceeds the death rate by 900 which gives a local need of 350 houses per year.

  • When pressed, most councillors agreed that they would like to see the housing target reduced to around 350 pa. We should build for local people.

  • As an interim strategy the Council are using the previous housing target of 740pa.

  • Keeping house building figures in the Borough low would protect Greenfield sites.

  • Conservative policy is to oppose building on Greenfield sites unless absolutely necessary.

  • Maria Miller supports our aim to reduce house building and said “an East versus West (Manydown) fight was not the answer and the case for building on Greenfield sites had been blatantly inflated. We should protect all these sites”.

  • The ‘Council Vision’ emphasises “enriching the countryside” and the draft plan for 2011-2014 aims to protect our natural environment by involving our communities in future planning.

  • Water quality and supply is a major problem in the Borough with high phosphate and oestrogen levels in the Loddon.

Trustee Briefing on Impact of Proposed Development

Trustee Briefing on Environmental, Economic & Cultural Impact of Proposed Development on Land Offered for Sale by The Kings Fund East of Basingstoke.

Summary & Requested Action.

A previous administration and Board of Trustees approved an option agreement between The Kings Fund and Taylor Wimpey which could result in the development of up to 10,000 homes. Any development of this scope would contravene numerous local, national and EU policies, guidelines directives and obligations as well as have a significant economic and lifestyle/well-being impact on existing communities.

SOLVE (Save Our Loddon Valley Environment) believes Trustees have a fiduciary and moral obligation to instruct Executives to convene a small team, led by a Trustee, to work in a transparent and constructive relationship with SOLVE and the local community to review the option agreement and explore ways to annul the agreement.