THIS is the third part of the Gazette's round-up of all the stories that hit the headlines in 2017.

With the first half of the year out of the way, these are some of the bigger stories that were covered in July, August, and September.


The month got under way with scorching sunshine which drenched War Memorial Park as thousands of music lovers descended on the park for the return of Basingstoke Live.

With acts from near and far, there was something for everyone.

The opening day featured an eclectic mix of artists including the first female headliner at Basingstoke Live, Paigey Cakey and Basingstoke’s own Signal.

There was a more chilled out vibe to the second day of the festival which also marked the end of Basingstoke Festival as a whole.

Closing out the two-day musical extravaganza were big beat, electronica act Dub Pistols.

News also emerged that Hampshire County Council (HCC) was looking to merge Park View Infant and Park View Junior Schools, both in Pinkerton Road, in to one primary school from January.

The move came after Park View Infant School was placed in special measures by Ofsted in May this year after an inspection at the end of March.

Despite an angry reaction from some parents about the idea, HCC approved the decision later in the year.

A new retail park to be built on land empty since the 1990s was given the green light.

Plans for the St Michael’s Retail Park, on the site of the former Smiths Industries Aerospace site, in Winchester Road, were given the go-ahead by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, despite concerns over traffic issues the park may cause in the area.

Area Estates, the developer behind the application, has said it has already signed up the likes of Aldi, Nandos, Costa Coffee, Oak Furniture Land and Furniture Village to some of the 11 units proposed for the site, sandwiched between the Brighton Hill Retail Park and B&Q.

Celebrations of the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death continued when a statue of the worldfamous author from Steventon was unveiled in Market Place.

Standing at around five feet tall outside the Willis Museum, the statue is of Jane Austen clutching a book as she moves through the square.

The sculptor and designer of the statue is Adam Roud, from Basingstoke, who crafted the statue to look as close to being real as possible.

There was some good news at the end of the month when influential backing was gained for Basingstoke Town Football Club’s move to Winklebury.

The Hampshire FA and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council both backed the club’s proposed move to Winklebury Football Complex for the 2018/19 season after the club was told it would have to move on from The Camrose by the end of this season.


There was sad news at the beginning of August when it was announced the annual Disport Games, a sporting contest for disabled people, was cancelled for the first time in its fourdecade history.

Due to not being able to reach the £1,400 costs required to stage the event, the organisers made the reluctant decision to cancel the games.

However, it is hoped the event will return in 2018.

A three-foot lizard was on the loose in Basingstoke in August.

The escaped lizard, not thought to be dangerous and believed to have been a pet monitor lizard, was seen in the Norn Hill area, scaling the front wall of a home.

The RSPCA made an appeal to find the animal which, as they are native to Africa, Asia and Oceania, would not cope well with being exposed to the UK’s climate.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council signed off a deal to allow American firm Village Hotels to build a new 153-room, business class hotel in Basing View.

The two parties had exchanged legal paperwork on the deal which had attracted controversy due to it containing plans for a state-of-the-art gym which many feared threatened the future of the Basingstoke Sports Centre.

The council argued the hotel was necessary to ensure Basingstoke has the right high-class facilities to compete economically with other towns in the south east.

After three-and-a-half weeks of disruption, commuters breathed a sigh of relief as trains services to London Waterloo came back to normal.

Network Rail extended platforms at London Waterloo to cope with longer trains but to do this, had to close large swathes of the station, causing widespread disruption.

A GP surgery completed a dramatic turnaround, going from special measures to a ‘good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission in a year.

Crown Heights Medical Centre, based in Alencon Link, has more than 25,000 patients and the watchdog had said that patients were at ‘risk of harm’ when inspectors visited in July 2016.

However, when it was reinspected, the practice was praised and rated as ‘good’ in all categories.


It was the dawn of a new era at Everest Community Academy when the running of the school was taken over by the Bourne Education Trust (BET).

The change meant principal Nick Price stood down after three years, to be replaced by Alex Russell.

The move came after Academies Enterprise Trust’s (AET) sponsorship status of the school was re-brokered at the request of the regional school’s commissioners.

The school had most recently been graded as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.

The AA confirmed it had u-turned on its plan to move in to the Florence Building, the new office block being in the centre of Basingstoke, due to be completed next year.

The firm said the move was not financially viable and opted to stay at its long-term base of Fanum House.

The AA has been based in Basingstoke for more than 40 years and currently employs around 700 people in the town.

Vile thieves stole £1,500 from a charity café in Brighton Hill Parade and caused significant damage to the building.

Café Dome, which provides students with learning difficulties the chance to gain work experience in a real-life environment, was targeted.

However, the community rallied around after the breakin and theft with individual donations and offers to hold fundraisers and install a new CCTV system.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council confirmed weekly bin collections in the borough are to stay.

Councillors abandoned its exploration of ‘alternate weekly collections’ which would have seen black waste bins collected one week and the green recycling bin the next.