Keith Watts, Borough Councillor for Whitchurch, has promised to oppose the dispersal to Whitchurch of house building to meet the needs of Basingstoke.  Speaking at the Annual Town Assembly on Wednesday evening, Keith said that Whitchurch should grow only to the extent that Whitchurch folk who want to live here can find suitable homes.

 “Conservative Councillors elected on promises to ‘save’ sites on the edge of Basingstoke from development are talking again about a strategy of dispersal to smaller communities such as Whitchurch and Overton.  This would be bad for Whitchurch and bad for Basingstoke, which needs a properly planned, properly resourced extension” Keith said.

Decisions in June…
 Basingstoke & Deane Council intends, at meetings in July of this year, to make decisions on the number of new homes to be planned for up until the year 2026 and where they should be built.  Keith Watts presented his plan of action to achieve the best outcome for the district as a whole and for Whitchurch.  “In the early years”, Keith said “sufficient social houses should be built to reduce to a minimum the waiting list of local people in housing need.  No affordable homes to rent were built in Whitchurch in 2010.  The present schedule that defers any new building to 2014 is unacceptable to me and I am working with anyone who can help us to house the most needy earlier.”

Sites…
Within Whitchurch, Keith said that he will be supporting the release of a site in Bloswood Lane, between Groves Orchard and Park View, for a mixed development of social and private housing.  Keith will resist any development of the Borough Council’s land by The Knowlings off Micheldever Road unless there is a solution to the traffic problems.

Wider view…
 Taking a wider view, Keith Watts believes that the town of Whitchurch in the future should be contained south of the railway, east of the A34 and west of the present boundary up the valley.  “I will oppose any development of sites east of the town such as the hillside by The Gables.  Encroachment into this conservation land will change the nature of the upper Test Valley for the worse.”

Ten Point Action Plan
This is Keith’s ten point plan of action:

  1. A properly planned, properly resourced extension to Basingstoke to meet the needs of its existing residents and any others attracted by new employment opportunities
  2. No ‘dispersal’ of homes to Whitchurch to meet the needs of Basingstoke or other towns
  3. Containment of the Town of Whitchurch south of the railway, east of the A34 and west of the present boundary up the valley
  4. Whitchurch should grow only to the extent that Whitchurch folk who want to live here can find suitable homes [“zero net migration”]
    This does not mean that no-one will be let in or out
  5. INCLUDING, in the early years, sufficient social houses to reduce to a minimum the waiting list of local people in housing need
  6. An earlier start on new building than 2014
  7. Selection of site WHIT006 in Bloswood Lane for mixed private and social housing
  8. Resisting development of the Council’s land at The Knowlings (site WHIT010a) unless there is a solution to the traffic problems
  9. Opposing any development of sites east of the town such as WHIT009 by The Gables
  10. With the Town Council, to find an ‘exception’ site for building up to 25 small homes