Basingstoke and Deane has played more than its’ fair share in housing the nation, with homes for an extra 150,000 people in the past five decades, double the rate of the rest of the country. The current Borough build rate has crept up to an unsustainable 1,200 new homes a year. This exceeds levels in the Local Plan, well beyond the needs of our community, stretching the capacity of the NHS and damaging the safety of our natural environment.
Our community wants this rapid growth to slow down to give local services like our Hospital and GPs time to catch up with the increase in demand; and the Council time to form a better plan to protect the local natural environment. The next local plan must cut new house building levels in half, so we meet the needs of our own local residents, not those of other local authorities too.
Basingstoke is an exception: we have consistently overbuilt in comparison to other communities in the South East. There are provisions in law that the Borough Council can use to justify change, including establishing new policies on migration levels, and using ‘exceptional circumstances’ and ‘strong reasons’ as provisions set out in the National Planning Policy Framework Paragraphs 61 and 11b.
The next Local Plan needs a complete shift of focus, away from high levels of house building and onto what our existing residents need: expanding services for our rapidly ageing population, the regeneration of existing housing stock, new ways for local residents to access affordable homes and to safeguard the natural environment.