“Mission Accomplished” – those were the words of Town Councillor Mike Kean after last night’s Basingstoke and Deane Committee Meeting that was discussing the officers’ report into access across Daniel Park. Mike, along with resident Kathy Edwards, and the two Whitchurch Borough Councillors, Eric Dunlop and Keith Watts all spoke strongly against the report.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Field Challenge should not be hijacked” pleaded Kathy.

Town Council opposed to road
On Monday evening the full Whitchurch Town Council had also discussed the matter and had voted unanimously to oppose any retention of land across the park for a road. The proposals being made by Borough Council officers were seen as a ‘breach of trust’, after the vote to make the whole area a Queen Elizabeth II Park.

Officers want to allocate space for a road across this Park

Clarity of report questioned
Last night at the Civic Offices there was mixed discussion coupled with a lack of understanding. Councillor John Izzet who represents Burghclere asked “Are there other access options?” of which the answer was of course “Yes”. He was supportive of the Whitchurch case as these other alternatives existed.

At times the meeting almost fell into acrimony as some thought that officers may have produced a misleading report, which was vehemently denied. There were some notably glum faces from the officers.
Applause rang out from the public gallery, when Councillor Keating said “The officers had made a mistake”.

Cllr Watts asked several questions of the officers who replied by saying that detailed issues would be considered if and when a road became necessary, and that they did not have the answers now. He also quoted a previous Highways report that had said access via Alliston Way was unsuitable.

Amendment carried
Cllr Watts proposed an amendment to the report which was narrowly carried, removing the recommendation that a strip of land in Daniel Park be reserved for access. This is excellent news for the campaigners as it is one step further towards achieving what the residents of Whitchurch had voted for.

The Final Decision
However, the final decision is still to be made, and will be taken by the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Ranil Jayawardena. He can be contacted at: cllr.ranil.jayawardena@basingstoke.gov.uk

QEII Field Day
Meanwhile plans remain in hand for a QEII Field Day – a celebration of the Jubilee to be held at Daniel Park on July 7th, and is being arranged by the Festival Committee and the Friends of the QEII Park. This is the same day as the Carnival Procession and Fete, and once further details are known they will be posted here.
The aims are to also have this listed as part of the wider ‘Basingstoke Festival’.

A (slightly) edited video of the B&DBC committee meeting is HERE (full-length original webcast is on council’s website here).