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8:31am Friday 13th July 2012 in Letters
Sir.–I am a Winklebury resident and I am becoming increasingly furious regarding the whole Manydown fiasco.
I live opposite Manydown, frequent the area regularly with my family, and feel blessed to live close to such an area of wildlife and open countryside.
It appears that, for me, this is all going to change as I am sure that Manydown will certainly be developed on and soon we will be graced with another massive housing estate to admire instead of the beautiful fields of open farmland.
As a Winklebury resident, I feel let down by our local politicians. I have spoken with canvassing Conservatives who have guaranteed me that whilst they hold power, Manydown would not be developed. I voted in good faith, unaware that there was history with the Manydown site, and now I feel incredibly let down.
It appears to be Basingstoke is blessed with hypocrisy in abundance. Everyone appears to want to develop Basingstoke as long as it isn't in their back yard.
Chineham, Lychpit and Old Basing councillors have actively campaigned against development in their areas but seem quite happy for it to go ahead in others. Has it not occurred to them that residents of Winklebury also do not want to be the victims of another massive building project?
This letter is not politically motivated. I don’t profess to be a genius in the matters of local government but I am disgusted with the attitudes of both councillors and residents of the “not in my back yard” genre.
Perhaps local government should be encouraging more estates to be regenerated to help create homes that are so obviously needed.
Manydown is a beautiful area that will be lost to the future generations of Basingstoke.
And for those of you who will be kicking their heels at this news, let’s hope that you can continue to fight to keep the wolves from your own doors.
–Nina Egge Daborn, Kenilworth Road, Basingstoke.
Sir.–For many months Manydown has been the subject of a debate that has focused on it being bought for housing development. But Manydown was not just acquired for housing. It was always intended that Manydown should provide a green lung for Basingstoke – a consideration that seems to have been overlooked in the heat that this subject has generated.
In the last 60 years, the borough population has grown enormously, built with a single-minded focus on commercial and housing development and expensive, capital and revenue intensive community facilities. By comparison, we have exploited and damaged the natural environment and done too little to compensate it, nor have we set aside big enough spaces for people to enjoy and wildlife to thrive.
Manydown, above, has several ancient woodlands but they are fragmented.
Other habitats like wildflower rich grasslands have almost disappeared and yet they are needed to support a huge diversity of species with food.
Manydown’s ancient woodland fragments could be reconnected with new planting. Manydown soils could support wildflower rich grasslands. Some of Manydown could be farmed to benefit farmland species and demonstrate how food can be produced more sustainably.
Right on the doorstep of Basingstoke, Manydown could be a fantastic place for all ages to enjoy accessible natural open space. Borough schools and families would benefit, and given that the town has to expand, access to natural open space will be increasingly important.
We fear that the recent dispute over Manydown will diminish prospects for the kind of significant natural open space that Basingstoke deserves, one that will be spacious enough to accommodate its urban population as well as its wildlife. If you want to influence that work, we need to tell councillors that we want plans for a country park on Manydown of a thousand acres. While Manydown will undoubtedly have to accommodate houses we have a very rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to do something other than just build.
If you agree, then please contact your local councillor.
–Paul Beevers, Chair, Old Down and Beggarwood Wildlife Group.
Sir.–My wife and I were both born and bred in Basingstoke. We are now in our 71st year.
You can imagine the changes we have seen, not all good, and we believe there is worse to come Just look around you in Basingstoke – it is beginning to look ugly, stifled and cramped.
The only green areas on the estates are football pitches – really nothing to admire. Basingstoke is now over-developed.
Look at the land that has been swallowed up in Basing, Black Dam, Lychpit, Popley, Chineham, Park Prewett, Winklebury, South Ham, West Ham, Buckskin, Kempshott, Berg Estate, Cranbourne, Brighton Hill, Hatch Warren and Beggarwood.
It does not matter whether it be Manydown, Popley, Sherborne St John, Basing, or the Basingstoke Golf Course – enough is enough.
There are thousands of people who think the same as we do, but we fear what we say will fall on deaf ears, because the local authorities have already made their minds up regardless of people’s feelings.
We had the overspill from London. The planners should look elsewhere for the overspill from Basingstoke.
–Name and address withheld.