Councillor Mark Ruffell’s claim in last week’s Gazette that "our local plan is serving us well” shows just how out of touch his Conservative administration are. 

Their failure to develop Manydown on schedule, has created a black hole in the Council's five year land supply, leaving speculative developers to fill the gap. 

A plan that should have given us control of housing allocations until 2029 is now 'out of date'. Overton, Whitchurch, Bramley and Oakley are now under threat from unwelcome over-development, well in excess of their agreed housing allocations.
Developers are riding rough over Neighbourhood Plans and the communities that produced them. 

These plans were meant to empower communities, ensuring any development met their needs, by choosing where they wanted new homes and highlighting infrastructure deficiencies.

Those that produced them were told, these plans would give control, when in reality, they don’t seem to be worth the paper they are written on.

Already, in the borough, Oakley Parish Council have submitted a petition against further development, with Overton Parish Council passing a similar motion this week.

The rural areas can no longer be expected to provide the housing land for Basingstoke's unrestrained growth agenda.

The council needs to take back control of it’s failing housing policy, by building its own houses, instead of relying on the private sector, with an emphasis on increased social housing, which is becoming more essential as the economy slows and a recession starts to bite.

Basingstoke is apparently the 3rd fastest growing town in the UK and is about to swallow up Basing, Chineham and Oakley, at what point will it be big enough?

For the past fifteen year our council has refused to change course and is ideologically opposed to building houses to benefit its own residents. Is it any surprise that developers fill the gap with the endless destruction of our countryside, or inappropriate conversion of office blocks?

However he is right about one thing, it fails to address the challenge of Climate Change. This makes the decision to hand design control of Manydown over to private developers whose attitude to energy saving technologies that  reduce long term running costs to residents, is always 'jam tomorrow, but never jam today', even more irrational.

Cllr Colin Phillimore and Cllr Ian Tilbury

Overton, Steventon & Laverstoke, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council