A bombshell has been dropped on campaigners who believe Basingstoke Council is reneging on the vote for Daniel Park to be kept as open space in perpetuity in celebration of HRH The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Residents and local Councillors left a meeting last Tuesday having seen the Committee vote not to include a recommendation that part of the Park be allocated for a possible road.

Then came the astounding news that the officers are not accepting the Committee’s decision and that the report still includes a recommendation for a road to up to 200 houses.

ALL COULD STILL BE LOST
As one campaigner said:

The land is still proposed to be reserved for a road and this will kill the field – it will certainly take all the joy out of the dedication and the party as a damp squib if we lose at the Cabinet.

Another added:

This is a real stab in the back for Whitchurch. They are taking the celebration of our Queen away from us.
What should have been worth shouting from the rooftops has become tainted by dirty politics.

Many are now questioning whether democracy exists within the Basingstoke Borough. The officers’ recommendation for a 20 metre wide road across the park is now to go to the Council’s Cabinet – a group of seven Conservative Councillors appointed by the Leader of the Council.

This is next Tuesday, March 20th.

Further details to follow.

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Local Borough Councillor Keith Watts has sent the following to the town website:

QEII Field decision referred to Council’s Cabinet

Following a committee meeting on Tuesday that recommended that the whole “Daniel Park” site should be dedicated for recreation for ever as a Queen Elizabeth II Field, a report will be sent to the Council’s Cabinet meeting on March 20th containing the original proposal for a strip 20 metres wide to be excluded for future building of a road.

The Deputy Leader of the Council has authority to approve a recommendation from an Overview Committee but not to overturn it. A decision has clearly been made to reject the opinion of the meeting on Tuesday.

The Cabinet comprises seven Conservative Councillors chosen by the Leader of the Council.

Whitchurch Councillors Eric Dunlop and Keith Watts will each be allowed to speak for two minutes at the Cabinet Meeting, as will a Town Councillor and any member of the public who registers to speak.

Keith says “Eric and I have discussed tactics at the meeting.  We will put a strong case for dedication if the whole site that was voted for by local people.  I hope that others from Whitchurch will come again to Basingstoke to support us.

“Regrettably, reference to the Cabinet puts the whole issue into the political domain.  So far, we have opposed the Officers’ recommendation with reason and logic.  I hope to keep it that way but the behaviour of two Conservative Councillors at Tuesday’s meeting lead me to doubt it.

“We have opposed the proposal to carve out a very wide corridor for a road on three grounds:

  • it is a breach of trust with the local people who voted to preserve the whole park for ever as a Queen Elizabeth II Field
  • it is unnecessary, the Alliston Way access is no better than the existing access on The Knowlings and with pro-active planning a much better way into the site can be arranged through a neighbouring field bordering Micheldever Road to a new relief road farther south
  • it is foolish because under the government’s “localism” agenda the local community will have a say in all planning allocations.  The local community will never agree to a development using a road across the QEII Field from Alliston Way, so the proposed building site will become a white elephant.

I hope there will be another good turnout to support us on 20th March.  Remember the words of Winston Churchill:

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

Comments (2)

  • John Fox

    Alas, Royal Assent for the Localism Act came too late for the community to prevent the sale or demolition of the Harvest Home, but there may be provision in the Act to assist the community prevent this action by B&DBC. It would be worth someone investigating possibilities. Here’s a starter for ten: http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/decentralisation/localismbill/keymeasures/ It strikes me that Whitchurch needs to take decisive action to develop a Neighbourhood Plan which, if produced in accordance with the Act, B&DBC must act upon in planning decisions.

  • Sarah graham

    Have been a new resident for just a year now, but am disgusted by the issue of Daniel Park!!! Typically it seems to be the penpushers who don’t live here and clearly don’t value local opinion, and will push through whatever plans they see fit to presumably save a bit on their development budget!

    Seems to be countrywide trend unfortunately, but am positive Whitchurch residents will put up a tough fight!
    I for one would be quite happy to camp up there if I thought it would send the bureaucrats running!!!

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