The decision of the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s ‘Cabinet’ to go against a local vote and even overturn the decision of one of its own Committees has reached the pages of that satirical and current affairs journal – Private Eye.

In an article headed ‘A road runs through it’, the national magazine covers the failure of the Council to recognise the results of a vote that itself arranged on the dedication of Daniel Park as a QEII Field in conjunction with Fields in Trust (FiT).

Borough Council changed the rules
Campaigners say the Council has reneged on local people by ‘changing the rules’ after a vote was won.
The Cabinet, made up wholly of Conservative Councillors, then ignored the democratic decision of the ‘economic prosperity’ committee – an action that has many local residents both bewildered and angered.

Council to be challenged
Whitchurch Borough Councillor Keith Watts, supported by six other Councillors has asked for a ‘call-in’ to the full Council on the grounds that the decision was made without adequate consideration, particularly into the blight effect on local property values of a potential future road.

The process must be independent
Cllr Watts raised a question at the last full Basingstoke Council Meeting that any valuation work to determine the blight on property values should be carried out by an independent body, not by the Council itself.
The Leader of the Council (Cllr Clive Sanders) chose not to answer his point.
One campaigner said:

It would be incredible if they did any valuation exercise themselves.
It could never be seen as fair and independent, being carried out by those who acted despicably in ignoring the democratic process. Who could trust it?

Elections cause delay
Some campaigners say the whole issue seems to have regrettably become political which seems to be confirmed, as due to electoral protocols further considerations cannot be given to the matter by BD&BC until after the elections on 3rd May.

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* Due to copyright considerations we are unable to reproduce the article in Private Eye (No.1312)

Comments (4)

  • Keith Watts

    Unfortunately this became party-political when the six cabinet members, of one party, present at a meeting reversed the Committee’s recommendation without discussion.

    Things have become more complicated since then and I face a huge dilemma whether to go ahead with the call-in and risk there being no QEII Field at all if I win the vote, or abort the call-in and accept the decimation of the dedicated land.

  • climo

    Call it Keith. In the event of a total loss of the field the tory cabal lose much more. Private Eye will descend on them like vultures rapidly followed by the rest of the media who just love a stick to beat the tories with. BDBC will be discredited.

  • Caroline

    Sadly, BDBC seem to thrive on discreditation (is that a word?). You’d have thought that they might have been shamed into doing something right with all this Manydown business that’s been going on and which clearly stinks to high heaven. They just don’t seem to care what we or the press think of them. Maybe they’ll care what the High Court thinks of them, but I guess they’ll just worm their way out of it again. So bloody depressing.

  • Mike Stead

    How about this: the six councilors concerned are happy to take their fight to our community: how about we take it to theirs.

    What about a leaflet drop to their own constituencies, detailing exactly what they have chosen to do to our park, and the respect it showed for the Queen, not to mention the facility for local families and children. Ask their constituents if they should vote for people so happy to ignore democratic process, public wishes and common sense.

    And I think doing the call-in is a good idea. Imagine the stink if the most voted-for park for the Queen’s jubilee is lost to a road because of Tory bungling. Imagine a group of Whitchurch children writing a massive ‘We’re Sorry, We Tried Your Majesty’ letter.

    There are probably loads of other things. But I agree with Caroline, B&DBC clearly do not give a toss about our town.

    How about a mass council-tax protest? Isn’t it the law that a cheque can be written on a plank of wood, or a brick, or sheet of roofing iron, or anything? Imagine a few hundred households delivering bricks or planks to their head offices, once a month, until they change their minds…

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