Dear CAGE Supporter
As you probably know by now, Wednesday evening’s meeting of Basingstoke Council’s Development Control Committee voted on the planning applications for the warehouses at Oakdown Farm.
In line with the Planning Officers’ recommendations they
- REFUSED the outline application to develop the whole site with four warehouses by a majority of ten to one.
- APPROVED the full application to develop the largest of the four warehouses. This was a close vote but was passed by a majority of six to four.
Key concerns raised by councillors included
- The planned removal of the avenue of 80 oak trees on the site.
- The visual impact of the buildings and adverse impact on the local landscape.
- The impact on nearby residents; not least Ganderdown Cottages which are opposite the development but also those living in Hounsome fields and on the Golf Course site.
- The nature and impact of the huge traffic increase; whether this will solely be HGVs as the developers are claiming and how any off site waiting and parking will impact the roads in the area.
The meeting lasted three and half hours and you can view a recording here on YouTube
So what happens now?
- Referral to the Secretary of State Requests have been made for both of these applications to bereferred to the Secretary of State under a process of “calling in” an application for review. A call-in can best be described as an enquiry at government level where the decision on the applications is taken out of the hands of the local authority.
You may have seen in the press that one such referral has been submitted by five local MPs including Maria Miller and Kit Malthouse. Another has been submitted by CAGE and Dummer Parish Council.
We don’t know when these requests will be reviewed but no development can start until the reviews have taken place. If the Secretary of State agrees that the applications are of sufficient national importance, then a public inquiry will be held. These are only held in a few cases and are lengthy processes without any certainty that they will overrule the Local Authority’s decision.
- Appeal by the developers
It is entirely possible that Newlands will appeal the decision to refuse outline planning permission for the whole site. We can only wait to see if and when this happens but it is clear that public opinion and the Development Control Committee are strongly opposed.
- Appeal by the public
For many people watching the proceedings live on Wednesday this was their first opportunity to see how decisions of this type are made. A number of you have already raised concerns about the process and we are reviewing this as a matter of urgency. If you wish to add your own views or comments, please email our two MPs, Maria Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kit Malthouse (email@example.com) copying in Karen Ross, our clerk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What will happen next?
This is far from over and there will be many twists and turns over the coming weeks and months. We will make every effort to represent your interests, to keep you updated on developments and continue to fight for the best outcome for residents of South West Basingstoke.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments please contact us at CAGE.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Chair, Clean Air Green Environment (CAGE)
tel 0208 638 6131