Aerial shot of Testbourne School showing the proposed fitness gym next to the pool.

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council have rejected the plan put forward by Testbourne for a new, albeit temporary, fitness gym for use by the school and the local community.

The proposed new gym, which plans indicate would have been erected beside the swimming pool, would accommodate 250 members, a substantial increase over the current gym’s 70 members. The old gym would have been turned into a classroom.

The plans state that the temporary gym building would have remained for 10 years, after which, it is assumed, the converted classroom would be reverted back to a gym.

COUNCIL DEMANDS £9,870 AND CAR PARKING

The Council refused the plan they said because there was no proof of adequate on-site parking given nor was there a plan to show sustainable transport would be encouraged. The council feared that people would park cars in the bus turning circle and on Micheldever Road instead of in the 8 car parking spaces, or 10 secure cycle storage places.

The council stated that it would have demanded that Testbourne contribute £9,870 for use towards pedestrian, bus and cycle infrastructure identified along the B3400 by Hampshire County Council and in the vicinity of the school. This money would have been required the council say because of the anticipated 42 extra trips a day the new gym would have created.

The temporary structure would have included changing rooms and toilets in addition to the fitness gym itself.

PLAN PROVIDED

Testbourne had provided information about parking for cars and bicycles, plus access for people arriving on foot, in their Design and Access statement and in a Transport Statement, both of which were submitted with their plans.

In a letter of support to the Council for the plans, Testbourne Headteacher Hillary Jackson wrote,

‘We anticipate that there should be no negative impact on the local area as surveys have shown that 75% of users walk to the current Fitness Suite.’

HOPES FOR PROGRESS

The Community Manager at Testbourne, Paul Bushell said, “We have a meeting scheduled with the planning department in a couple of weeks time and we are hopeful to try and make some progress with the refusal of the planning application.”

He continued, “We feel strongly that the fitness gym will benefit the local community and are hopeful to find a solution to the areas highlighted by planning.”

COMMUNITY MEETING ABOUT SPORTING FACILITIES

The public are invited to a community meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 in Testbourne Theatre Hall; the topic is improving sporting facilities in Whitchurch.


The rejected planning application is BDB/75851: see the notice of refusal, and section 106 funds documents. The plan for the distillery is described in our article HERE. The notice about the community meeting on sporting provision in town is HERE.

Comments (3)

  • Graham Burgess

    Key in all of this and so many other things is for officers of the council , paid by the populace, is to ascertain the “sort of thing” the community wants and then to apply the skills and cleverness which hopefully led to them being appointed on our behalf as public servants to see how those objectives can best achieved.

    It might inlcude a bit of strategic planing to ensure that things like parking serve those needs and wider needs. in our community.

    The Sports and Social Club has lots of parking and should there be any housing development in the school area provision for other social needs like greenspace and parking should be considered. Such parking should include charging points for electric mobility scooters and bicycles and cars.

  • Mike Stead

    Yet again B&DBC get the knives out for Whitchurch. Is it a Tory policy to knobble *every* local initiative? This £9,870 public transport demand and rejecting based on claims people will park in the bus bay is stupid – the gym is only open well outside school hours, 6.45-8.15am & 5.00-9.30pm Mon-Fri. So use the bus bay! Look at who will use this gym – locals, or people around the area. Locals won’t use public transport to get there (cycling/walking – it’s a GYM) and people in SMB / Longparish etc will have a very, very long wait for any public transport at those times of day – if any links will even exist. To think our council taxes pay the wages of the B&DBC employee who made this recommendation. It can only be seen for what it is – a deliberate two fingers up to our town and school.

  • James Thorogood

    Sadly the planning dept in Basingstoke work from a book of rules and are incapable of applying common sense and reality to any situation. We have an opportunity to improve the Town and some non-relevant bureaucrat has failed to use their brain. Last time I saw an event in Testbourne there where circa 100+ cars happily parked on the site, certainly more than the 8 to 10 that they have claimed. B&D Council need to look at the big picture and think outside the box!!

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