One of the issues raised at the recent Annual Town Assembly was for consideration to be given to development off Winchester Road.
The item was presented by Eric Dunlop as a possible solution to future residential and public open space needs in the longer term.

The time available at the Town Assembly did not really provide enough opportunity for Eric’s suggestions to be aired fully, and he has asked that we make his plans available on the town website.
We are more than happy to oblige.

Eric says:

“This drawing outlines my personal view as to how I see Whitchurch developing over the next 25 to 30 years.
By expanding domestically to the South this will provide for the town a further 9 acres of public open space.
I place this drawing in the public domain as a discussion document to assist in the future planning of our town.

DOWNLOAD PLAN (4.4 Mb)
Eric Dunlop
Ward Councillor for Whitchurch”.

Comments can be left on this website.

Comments (12)

  • climo

    This is a newer version of a plan published before. In this plan there’s an increase of houses from 200 to 295.

    There is a proposed entry from Winchester St via demolishing house number 123 into the housing site. What happens if the owners don’t sell? Our councillors will try to stipulate that if the land is to be developed then that access & no other (apart from emergency access) will be in the planning permission. Good luck to them in trying to convince the tory dominated BDBC of that. I doubt that they will win that argument.

    Housing density in Eric’s plan is set at 16 per acre, that’s 39 houses per hectare Within the confines of the proposed site there is ample land for about 180 extra houses thus creating 375 houses in total. Government guidelines are up to 50 houses per hectare (much more in cities) which would allow 630 houses in total. The real figure is likely to be somewhere in-between.

    What is most troubling is the obvious omission which, if built, will lead to massive development of Whitchurch.
    An alternative access to Eric’s proposed site is to build a road from the south (near the A34 on-ramp) into the site as it’s not that far. This opens that entire area adjacent to the access road to future development and is a developers dream come true. Unlimited space for 100’s of new houses which could easily double the size of the town.
    In fact BDBC has already identified that there are 82 hectares as a possible development site there, part of which is, I believe, WHIT017. They have, for now, said that it’s not suitable but have most definitely not ruled it out and Eric’s plan sets a precedent by breaching the town’s southern boundaries into that area.
    I don’t know about you but I have little faith in the government or BDBC to control development.

    If the above goes ahead then the Highways Authority would possibly put in a full interchange on the A34 due to increased traffic though the town centre.
    An expanded A34 junction creates a great opportunity for an out of town superstore which will kill local shops. Few jobs would be created. Such a superstore will be the only one accessible directly from the A34 from the M40 to M3 and is ideal for the hordes travelling to the south west. It’s a no brainer for any developer and I believe that the same company, Lillybell Ltd, owns the land throughout that area.

    What I’m talking about is the creation of a mini town. It’s a real possibility.
    Don’t for a minute believe that any developers won’t push for this. Remember, developers are not your friend!

    One of the arguments against the building of 200 houses on the Knowlings site (SHLAA WHIT10a) is that the traffic on Micheldever Road will be increased so making the junction with Winchester Road even more congested than now. However Eric’s new plan shows that the traffic from 152 new houses will have to use Micheldever Road. Also there is ample land within the confines of that side of the development to build at least 60 more houses which will be using the same access route via Micheldever Road. Therefore that part of the argument against the Knowlings site is negated.

    Development of the Knowlings Stage 2 site in the field adjacent to Daniel Park accessed from Micheldever Road and the road across Daniel park looks attractive in comparison to the above scenario as it becomes a ‘land locked site’ although obviously it has it’s drawbacks.
    If you’re going to start demolishing stuff how about the shop on the end of Micheldever round and then build a roundabout. This would relieve the congestion at that point caused by the school and the proposed development of the Knowlings development exiting onto Micheldever Rd.

  • climo

    I can see that Eric & Keith are trying to manage the expansion of Whitchurch, especially with the chaos caused by tory government indecision and the rapacious nature of developers.
    Our councillors, good though they are, are in favour of the controlled expansion of Whitchurch for local people. Quote from their website
    ‘PLANNING NEW HOMES
    Liberal Democrats support a plan for Whitchurch to have enough new homes for local people but no more. Of course, some people will leave and some people will come here but the town should not grow faster than the natural increase in population’
    They have said that the rate of development is 25 houses per year and looked at one way they’re right but that’s not all the story. All the 350 planned houses are slated to be completed by 2018 as written in SHLAA Appendix 5. Not exactly at the rate of a natural increase in population.
    Do they really expect, as they claim, that the majority of new houses will be occupied by local people? The answer is no.

    The population here is 4500 and so building 350 houses with 2 occupants each means an additional 700 people. Can we say 900 with kids? Thats a 20% increase in the local population up to 2018. That 350 increase is already planned. If you add another 295 houses (say 750 people) in the SHLAA up to 2027 thats about a 36% increase in the towns population. According to Eric the inclusion of his plan is for after 2027 but I’m not so sure that’s correct, after all why publish it now? What’s stop BDBC from including it AND other yet to be specified sites in this current SHLAA? Eric, have you made a rod for your own back? Why was this not widely publicised before the local election? It may have swayed voters either way.

    In comparison to the above, Basingstoke town has 80,000 people so it’s like dumping a further 29000 more people on Basingstoke town. Would the average citizen of Basingstoke want that? Not very likely.

    Note that this does not include any of my speculation and the numbers of houses quoted are AFAIK either definitely planned or projected.
    Please note that I’m not opposed to reasonable development but the 350 proposed houses will be ample for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of these should be sited at the Bloswood Lane / Manor Farm sites. Why there? Because the site has natural boundaries and road / rail access is easier than at other locations. Wells Lane leads to Andover, Evingar Rd and the Harroway both lead to Newbury, Evingar Rd and Lynch Hill Park lead to Basingstoke. The only route that has to go through the town centre is to Winchester.

    In addition, due to the high court decision about Manydown surely any house building within the borough should be biased towards Basingstoke.

  • Kieran

    If all these houses are going to be built, they need to expand the Doctors surgery and schools. The doctors is bad enough now, imagine what it will be like with more families moving here.

  • climo

    Keiran. This is from the Site Assessment documents for the Blowood Lane site, September 2011. The same notes apply to all the proposed sites in Whitchurch.
    ‘In terms of infrastructure, there is insufficient provision in GP facilities, secondary education, community facilities and waste facilities. However, contributions could be sought to refurbish or
    expand facilities/capacity as appropriate and therefore none of these elements are an overriding constraint on the site’s deliverability. Primary school capacity is, however, considered to be a
    significant issue as there is insufficient capacity to serve additional development and the expansion of Whitchurch Primary school is unlikely to be feasible. This issue would need to be
    addressed through a review of provision in the area covering Whitchurch and Overton. A further constraint is the insufficient capacity to accept additional flows at the Whitchurch Wastewater
    Treatment Works. Southern Water is not aware of any environment constraint that would stop expansion on the current works, subject to consent from the EA, and this is not considered to be a
    significant constraint to development as it could be addressed by way of investigations and phasing. Whilst growth will add to local congestion, this is not seen as an overriding constraint. Due
    to the deficiency in the provision and distribution of open space in Whitchurch, such provision would need to be located on-site, or, if developed with neighbouring Site WHIT007, existing
    deficiencies could be addressed.’

    Since building at the Bloswood Lane site is due to start next year it’s a bit late to point out the above problems. I’ve seen no evidence that any solutions are being considered or planned. Don’t you just love the phrase ‘However, contributions could be sought to refurbish or expand facilities/capacity as appropriate ‘ In other words the developers MAY pay something but IMO it’ll be you & I who pay the lions share.

  • Winchester Road Resident

    As the developer owns all the fields between Winchester Road & Micheldever Road and his goal is to build on them all, I fear the final “real figure” is likely to be over 1000 houses eventually.

    Does Eric Dunlop believe that all the traffic coming out of the new access road onto Winchester Road will turn left towards Winchester? Unfortunately not and it will go up into the town creating congestion at the Micheldever Road / Winchester Road junction, which is one of his arguments for not developing the Knowlings.

    The plan also shows 45 houses on the Whitchurch Sports & Social Club site. Are we therefore to assume that this is to be demolished at some point in the future and if so are the indoor bowling hall, outdoor bowling green, squash courts and football pitch to be located elsewhere in Whitchurch? If not, doesn’t this contradict Eric’s statement about increasing sports facilities and wouldn’t it be better to improve those we already have now instead of knocking them down? Also the majority of the area being shown as “sports area” is not the flat field directly behind Winchester Road but the next one up which is on a steep slope, so I’m not sure how this will accommodate sports pitches.

    Currently the youth football teams have to travel to Andover to play their matches as there are insufficient pitches – isn’t this something that should be sorted out NOW and not incorporated into a plan proposed for 7 years time? Surely a better solution would be to improve the school land which runs behind the Club up to Queens Road (which is not utilised by the school and could be developed NOW to create extra pitches) and have the school and Club work together so that Whitchurch does not have to lose another pub.

    Considering the current situation with the Manydown development and the review of the Core Plan, would Eric Dunlop’s time and effort be better spent fighting to keep new housing numbers to a minimum anywhere in Whitchurch rather than with a developer who wants to ruin it as a small town?

  • Whitchurch Resident

    Eric Dunlop’s personal view? as written on his plan, states that it is on behalf of his client Whitchurch Townsfolk. Who are they ?

    I have lived and worked in Whitchurch for over 25 years and this plan is suddenly thrown into the mix out of the blue, despite all the detailed work and analysis that has gone into the SHLAA over the past 2/3 years.

    There is a public meeting on May 16th at 7.00pm in Testbourne Theatre Hall to discuss the future
    of sport in Whitchurch. Attending the meeting will be, Longmeadow Sports Trust , Basingstoke
    and Deane Borough Council and Testbourne School. Whilst this is not seemingly direct about the
    Eric Dunlop plan, it would be beneficial to attend and see what is going on since sport plays a
    large part in the plan.

  • climo

    You’re right Winchester Rd Resident. There will be massive house building to the south. There are 82 hectares (WHIT017) there which so far have been rejected by BDBC for development and I quote:
    ‘This substantial area of land lies to the south west of Whitchurch immediately to the east
    of properties on Whitchurch Road and Testbourne Community School playing fields. The
    site comprises a number of open agricultural fields and is generally flat, although it rises
    gently towards Micheldever Road. The site is in single ownership and has been promoted
    by Luken Beck on behalf of Lillybell Ltd. Development of the site would extend the town
    unnecessarily into the open and attractive countryside and the scale of development
    would be inappropriate in Whitchurch’

    However they also say
    Comments reflect the existing approach and wording used for sites and settlements in Version 6 of the SHLAA. As the SHLAA states, it is for the
    LDF to determine which settlements should accommodate further growth and which sites are suitable for development, and this appendix, along
    with the rest of the document, will be updated in due course to take account of decisions made through the LDF relating to site and distribution
    work, future reviews of Settlement Policy Boundaries and neighbourhood planning.’

    With the Manydown debacle the LDF is in disarray.
    Not out of the wood yet then. 82 hectares would support 3200 houses. So my points in earlier posts are feasible.

    The disappointing thing about Eric’s plan is that it uses the 8 hectares of WHIT018 ( but not necessarily following the exact defined area) PLUS a bit of the massive WHIT017 thus setting a precedent for the further development of the 82 hectares of WHIT017. In my mind the whole idea breaches the southern boundary of the town and if followed to it’s logical conclusion completely changes the nature of Whitchurch by creating a ‘new town’ and a commuter town at that.
    As an aside, the above scenario also helps to explain the LibDems aims of a new northern station carpark which has a huge increase in area over the existing one. You also have to ask just where are the extra trains going to find space on that line in peak times.

    Eric’s ‘relief’ road will be built AFTER 2027 when all you have to do today is to put traffic lights at the bottom of Micheldever Rd. The congestion is for only a very small part of the day so why spend all that money on a new road unless of course you have a large development to the south generating traffic flow in that direction. The road does nothing to relieve traffic in the town centre.
    Relieving the congestion in Micheldever Road is reliant on parents who drop their kids at the school gates voluntarily making their children walk from the proposed debussing area into school.
    I can’t see that happening especially on a rainy day, can you?
    Why not expand the Testbourne School into their playing fields together with a shared use expansion of the sports ground. Then move the schools open recreation area further south? I’m not sure whether the land slopes too much to do that.

    Any rerouting of traffic just moves the congestion a bit down Winchester Rd. Any town bound traffic including the school buses will still have go past the parked cars along Winchester Rd so what’s the point of the new ‘relief road’ unless, of course, you have a significant number of houses to the south.

    When the 350 houses are built by ,according to the BDBC documents, by 2018 (remember the 25 houses per year and no more statement) the schools, etc will have to expand, again stated in the BDBC documents. I quote from several documents:

    ‘Testbourne secondary school will need to be expanded if all the SHLAA sites in Whitchurch
    come forward. An expansion by 150 places would be needed at an
    estimated cost of £8m funded through developers’ contributions/CIL.
    If both Overton and Whitchurch receive significant levels of additional
    housing then Testbourne may need to be expanded further. An
    expansion may still be necessary even with more limited
    development on Overton and Whitchurch as it will depend on
    demand for places at the time. Any expansion of feeder primary
    schools will likely need to be reflected in an expansion of the
    secondary school. A detailed building feasibility study will be required
    to assess if this is possible.’

    and

    ‘In order to meet the expected increase in need for primary care
    services and to accommodate additional GPs the present
    infrastructure will need to be improved by refurbishing or extending
    existing practice premises located nearby. Financial contributions
    would be sought from the developer.’

    These statements applies to all the sites in Whitchurch.

    I haven’t seen any sign of these additional facilities being planned, have you? Since according to BDBC the 350 houses will be built by 2018 then they’d better get a move on.

    Much of this has been discussed on the town’s Facebook page. Keith Watts and Eric Dunlop, whose hard work & dedication I much admire, have answered some points raised but Keith has now stopped the dialogue. The Facebook page is at
    http://www.facebook.com/whitchurchhants/posts/167392086719728?notif_t=share_reply
    This topic is best discussed here on the town website.

    Sorry for my long and rambling posts but local development is a subject which we all have a stake in. Plans are often ignored until too late.

  • Keith Watts

    Climo wrote “I haven’t seen any sign of these additional facilities being planned”.

    The signs are in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan
    http://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/94D7FECD-ADE7-4229-AB29-C024CA04837D/0/7768InfrastructureDeliveryPlandocument_screen.pdf

  • climo

    Thanks Keith.
    From a quick read my impressions that there is a recognised need for expansion in Primary & Secondary schools & GP services which is being addressed. Figures are estimated together with timescales.

    With Testbourne schoolfigures are estimated but the funding column says ‘none’.
    The primary school infrastructure requirement is to be confirmed as is the timescale.
    GP services figures are estimated but the funding column says ‘none’

    When the funding column says ‘none’ what does this mean?
    Why hasn’t the primary schools infrastructure requirements been defined yet?

    Apart from Southern Water improvements I’m none the wiser on schools and health care. It all looks a bit woolly.

  • Keith Watts

    Like Climo, I was concerned about the lack of firm commitments about schools so I spoke with the HCC Officer resonsible for this aspect of planning. He explained the breadth of the problem, looking across the whole of Basingstoke & Deane, with no firm commitments to development. The IDP is a living document subject to continuous update, its existence is an ample “sign” of facilities being planned, not evidence that they are already planned. It is my job to ensure that developers are required to make a sufficient contribution at the time each site is granted permission. There is unlikely to be any public money available for most of these requirements.

  • climo

    The IDP doesn’t really exist beyond a sign of intent but no commitment on several important projects. Kind of a magic wish list.
    The situation is worse than what I thought. No public funding! They are joking.

    I agree that developers should pay for every ‘problem’ they make but whatever they do pay it won’t be enough – they have no social conscience and will pay the absolute minimum that they can get away with.
    Local people will foot the bill somehow, if not in money then in reduced quality of local services e.g. longer waits at the doctors because the surgery can’t cope with the influx of 700+ more residents. More traffic etc. No more cash to help alleviate the problems.

    It should not be your job to make each developer pay their share. It should be a borough / county wide cohesive plan of infrastructure development that a developer must contribute to.

  • Keith Watts

    No public funding is the name of the game, Steve, remember “Dear Chief Secretary, there is no money”?

    The IDP will develop as a Borough-wide plan to which the County are also committed. As the politician who represents Whitchurch on planning matters, of course I have to make sure the necessary funds are obtained from developers, who else is going to do it? It is a lot of hard work. It is what I signed-up for when I stood for election.

    Commitment will come in the form of agreements each time planning permission is granted. That is the best we are going to get.

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