A SENIOR Conservative councillor has claimed that residents in some parts of Basingstoke have “lost confidence” in the borough council over its handling of the Manydown development.
Cllr Robert Donnell, cabinet member for environment and climate change and borough councillor for Winklebury, told the borough’s cabinet that residents in Winklebury feel that their voices are not being heard in relation to the Manydown site.
The development is set to see 3,400 homes built on the farmland between now and 2029, according to the borough’s draft Local Plan.
The Local Plan, which needs to be approved by a Government planning inspector, will guide where houses are built in the borough up until 2029.
Cllr Donnell told the meeting: “It is very clear from the response to the Local Plan, and also conversations with my residents, that frankly the residents of Winkle-bury, Buckskin, and I believe to some extent Oakley, have lost confidence in this council.
“In the last six months, residents – and these are residents who understand the planning system – agree the best chance for them to be heard both by this council and particular councillors is at the examination in public (of the Local Plan).”
He added: “I am confident we can rise to the challenge, and be seen to rise to the challenge.
“Unfortunately, the residents to the west of Basingstoke do not believe we have risen to the challenge at the moment.”
But Cllr Mark Ruffell, cabinet member for planning, said there have to be compromises, adding: “We have to have a Local Plan in place, and there have got to be compromises. Unfortunately, one of those compromises is that the area of land closest to his (Cllr Donnell’s) ward is going to be built upon.
“What Manydown will be if we achieve what we want to achieve will be an area that the people of Winklebury will perhaps have pleasure in visiting if they choose to do so.”