Free from development
Under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge, Fields in Trust in conjunction with Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council ran an online public vote to choose a Park to be free from any development forever, in recognition of the Queen’s Jubilee.
Whitchurch residents rallied round and Daniel Park gained more votes than anywhere else in the Borough, and indeed even in the UK.
WHITCHURCH – Top in the UK
Those voting believed that the protection would apply to the whole of Daniel Park and that a Deed of Dedication would be drawn up by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to ensure this.
Behind the scenes
There is now evidence showing that Basingstoke and Deane officers together with Fields in Trust have been acting behind the scenes to remove part of the Park from the scheme. They are making a proposal to reserve land to allow a highway to be built across Daniel Park from Alliston Way/Daniel Road.
A plan shows a 20-metre wide tranch of land, over 150 metres long being proposed for exclusion from the Deed of Dedication. This is to enable future access to a large housing area for possibly 200 homes. Such a road would destroy much of the Park and could have a major effect on the Skatepark and BMX track to which it would closely pass, as well as to traffic levels on Alliston Way and Daniel Road.
No local consultation
Basingstoke and Deane and Fields in Trust could have excluded this before the vote, but it is only now that they have belatedly decided to try and do so. However, they have not undertaken any local consultation.
The area for a road is shown starting at the elderly people’s bungalows and stretching around the back gardens of Neuvic Way and Wheeler Close to the Knowlings Field, which reaches up behind the housing on Micheldever Road.Should housing be built, traffic from the 200 homes would use the residential Alliston Way route passing the Rec to reach the already notorious Micheldever Road junction.
Betrayal and a breach of faith
Some who voted in the belief that the Park would be given full protection are now saying there has been a betrayal that must be investigated, and that allowing such a manipulation would be an unacceptable breach of faith. One resident stated: To propose a road across any public open space without any consultation with local people is completely wrong. Would Basingstoke not have consulted had they wanted a road over the Memorial Park by their offices?
Local Councillor Keith Watts has told the website:
If it is true that Fields in Trust have agreed, behind the back of all the people who voted for Daniel Park to be a preserved for ever for recreation as a Queen Elizabeth Field, that a 150 metre long strip can be reserved for a road, then this is a dreadful breach of trust by the ‘Trust’.
The idea that this is a suitable entry point for an estate of 200 houses is in any case insane.
It is understood the proposal is being put by officers to a Committee on 6th March in Basingstoke.
Even this has not been advertised locally in Whitchurch.
More to follow later.