Rampant disregard for our beautiful countryside must stop

As a lifelong resident of Basingstoke, I have witnessed the town develop from the tiny market town it was still in the 60s, from the original town centre development and subsequent rebuilding as Festival Place, to the expansion of the various estates.

When I was a child living in South Ham, I witnessed the Brighton Hill estate become established, slowly but effectively creeping over the bare fields to encompass what is now Hatch Warren and Beggarwood.

The area of Chineham, once a village, is now just another area of Basingstoke, next to a heavily redeveloped Popley and adjoining Rooksdown. In every direction, housing has increased in line with the need for an expanding population.

However, the area of Manydown, long since designated as a new housing area, and the Golf course next to the M3, have yet to be constructed in line with the proposals of the local plan.

It is common knowledge that for whatever reason, Basingstoke has built houses far in excess of the surrounding towns and yet I read of a further development now planned for Cliddesden.

This rampant disregard for our beautiful countryside must stop. It seemed apparent that land north of the M3 was ‘fair game’ for development, but south of the M3 was always sacrosanct.

The Viscount Lymington wishes to construct a ‘garden community’ of 2500 homes on a haven of wildlife and serenity for which appears to be for either his burgeoning wallet or vanity, or both.

We do not need Cliddesden despoiled in this way. I urge everyone to visit this area in the coming  weeks and witness this fantastic part of the countryside, a stone’s throw from Basingstoke, but presently separate.

It was always my boast to outsiders that for all of my town’s failings, it is surrounded by stunning countryside.

Take this away as well and we won’t have a town, just some ugly urban sprawl uncontained by major roads or railway links.

Let us all decry this plan for what is, the personal exploitation of land for profit, at the expense of not only the people of Cliddesden, but for all the people in Basingstoke.

Trevor John Heath, Lymington Close, Basingstoke.