How about a park instead, my lord?

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the article “New jobs & new homes, Lord pledges” (The Gazette, February 25).

If Lord Lymington wants to leave a “true legacy”, why not turn his land into a country park rather than sell it for housing? Perhaps any return wouldn’t be as lucrative for him though, eh?

Let’s see if Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council takes this land out of the draft revision of the Adopted Local Plan. Once land is in ALPs, proposals are to make the planning system quicker and easier to gain outline planning permission. The cabinet member for planning is the borough councillor for the parishes where this development is proposed.

There are many more homes to be built to fulfil the Local Plan. Hounsome Fields and the golf course sites may just be the tip of the iceberg in the south west of town; Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has yet again called for more land to be put forward for potential development. To date, more than 6,500 signatories on STaNHD’s petition is impressive. There must have been a reason for this land to be included in the draft revision though; the need to fulfil more numbers in the Local Plan perhaps?

Simon Preedy, Cyprus Road, Hatch Warren.

Learn from cities before it’s too late

Dear Editor,

I fear that Lord Lymington may have missed the boat - how many homes are currently under construction or planned for construction along the A30 between M3 Junction 7? What housing shortage is question that must be answered?

We cannot and should not stand in the way of progress. However it must be done in the right and proper way.

My views will not be blighted by the proposed development referred to - I do feel for those that moved into what is an attractive area or those that have been fortunate enough to have been raised in the area. Of course they want to preserve their local views, why wouldn’t they?

Having arrived in the area a number of years ago from West London, I shudder at the rate of development we are witnessing in the area - where will it stop?

Do those that hold the metaphorical key to all of this planned work really know what they are storing up - do they even care? I think I know what the answer is.

Look at all of the densely populated areas not a million miles away from Basingstoke. Take heed and learn from the experiences of larger towns and cities - we may be too late. However, we are entitled to our opinions it remains to be seen if that entitlement stretches to having them heard - really heard.

Having just stepped out of the ranks of the silent majority, I have realised that there is so much to be said - others too, must take the opportunity to voice opinions and demand answers.

If it matters - say it, to whoever will listen and make sure you get answers.

Ian Guest, Basingstoke.

No logical sense in Lord’s proposals

Dear Editor,

What a load of nonsense from Lord Lymington about his dream to build a huge development south of the M3. It is absolute rubbish to suggest that his plan could work under any present plans, mainly how do would you get an extra say 2,000 vehicles to exit his dream location on a normal traffic flow situation?

Those who use the A3345 for their normal travel to work experience a huge back up of vehicles trying to get under the motorway bridge. And this is every normal every working day. There appears to be no logical sense in pretending that all will be well and the road can cater for this situation, it simply not feasible. The people who have drawn up these plans need to go back to their desks.

Apart from the A3345, the only way to get under, or indeed over this bottleneck, to enter Basingstoke, or the M3, is to use Garlic Lane just south of Farleigh Wallop, a very small width carriageway which dumps the traffic onto a residential housing estate with schools and pupils, mums with prams etc, again it is impossible.

Lord Lymington has no plan whatsoever in developing, I understand, to build anything on the Farleigh Wallop Estate. Strange that he lives here, well away from the messy transport which will swamp the area isn’t it? Yes, I admit that my lovely home, which my wife and I worked our socks off to afford, will be involved in the development area, but so will many others.

Having known Lord Lymington for most of his life, I hope he will remain steadfast in preserving his duty, entitlement and title of Lord Lymington.

Major Tony Trown (retired), Hackwood Lane, Cliddesden.

Surely countryside is a better legacy?

Dear Editor,

Lord Lymington’s family have been owners and custodians of English countryside for 600 years. Portsmouth Estates is wonderful Hampshire countryside, made up of local communities, productive agricultural land, and is home to a huge variety of native wildlife.

Once this has been built on, it will be gone forever, no longer there for the residents of Basingstoke and the local area to enjoy.

Lord Lymington states he wants to create a legacy for generations to come – he already has this legacy

Surely safeguarding the future of this area as an agricultural estate would be a much more fitting legacy than having a street named after his family on a housing estate?

Debbie Foster, Ellisfield.

Hypocrisy from climate radicals

Dear Editor,

I was amused to read the letter, berating Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for the slow progress on the climate emergency. The writer, talks about creating well-paid jobs and new revenues and being in the vanguard responding to climate change. However, he makes no suggestions as to how this will be achieved.

This is the problem with the climate change zealots, they make daft predictions, i.e. carbon neutral by 2030. They pat themselves on the back but haven’t a clue how to achieve it. Look at the Government’s decision to bring forward the ban on diesel and petrol cars. How are all these electric cars going to be charged? They’ve closed coal fired power stations. And the green option is to burn wood pellets shipped from the USA, is this greener than burning coal? I don’t think so.

Do they really believe we can run a 21st Century economy on wind turbines? Incidentally, all these wind turbines require diesel generator back up. They are manufactured, erected and maintained by foreign companies; no British jobs created there then.

The new coal mine proposed in Cumberland, is for smelting steel, which cannot be produced without coal.

But the zealots, would rather import steel, so we can pretend we are carbon neutral.

David White, Coates Close, Basingstoke.

No credible plan to tackle climate crisis

I would like to follow up the letter from Martin Heath on the Climate Emergency by pointing out that Basingstoke must do much more to put nature recovery, biodiversity, accessible green spaces and a healthy environment at the heart of the planning process.

The recently published Vision for South West Basingstoke does not conform to national planning policy for protecting and restoring biodiversity and deserves root and branch revision. The issues raised are not just important for south west Basingstoke but the whole Borough, concerning as it does Borough-wide Local Plan policies and decisions about sustainable development and land use.

Council continues to hand landowners and developers the power to choose where development should be located, how much land should be developed and what it is used for. That should no longer be tolerated. Council should shape policy and own decisions on behalf of residents, protecting land that can contribute to plans for natural green infrastructure and other environmental services instead of approving developments that are in conflict.

Basingstoke is located in the Hampshire Downs, a landscape shared with the North Wessex AONB to the north and the South Downs National Park to the south. Natural England has stated that “bridging the gap makes sense from a landscape and ecological perspective”. There is an opportunity to create an important corridor in a gap to the west of Basingstoke and at the same time enable wildlife to avoid crossing the A30, and M3 between Junction 7 and 8.

Despite national planning policy there is no partnership working, no properly functioning Local Nature Partnership, and no credible nature network map for south west Basingstoke to which local communities are able to contribute. Our countryside and wildlife has been fragmented and devastated by a focus on development, intensive farming and the road network. Corridors are to be measured in tens of metres when hundreds of metres or even kilometres are more viable. Reducing fragmentation by joining and expanding Priority Habitats for wildlife abundance and mobility should be at the heart of planning to achieve lasting change.

It is 14 years since the NERC Act of 2006, ten years since Making Space for Nature and 8 years after the planning system was remodelled by the National Planning Policy Framework. Council must fulfil its planning and delivery responsibilities with a policy framework and partnerships that will halt losses, restore biodiversity and deliver a much healthier environment for all life.

Holistic planning is urgently required; for nature, climate change and community and for genuinely sustainable development. We need a better vision, with adherence to relevant policies, more science, expertise and partnership working, more decisions in favour of the environment and ambition for restoring biodiversity as well as dealing with climate change.

Paul Beevers, Church Lane, Cliddesden.

Second class service from bin collectors

Dear Editor,

I share with you my letter to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council regarding the service from Serco’s waste collectors.

I expect no more or less than any other resident of the Basingstoke and Deane District for the residents of Manor Lane, Old Basing, RG24 7DG. That is that is that the dustbins are collected from each property and emptied, then returned to the same property from which they were taken. That sounds simple enough.

What the bin-men do is collect the bins into batches, back the lorry to the bins, empty them, then drive away leaving them where they emptied them, please see the attached pictures, the residents then have to complete the bin-men’s job and retrieve their own bins.

Please correct me if I have got this wrong, but if a resident infringes the rules laid down by the Council, the bin-men can refuse to empty a bin or even impose a fine if rules are broken.

If that is so, how can the Council authorise workers who blatantly refuse to do their own job properly to be in a position to penalise rate paying resident of the Basingstoke and Deane District?

After numerous communications with the Council on this very subject, it is high time that the Council enforced the contract with Serco and Serco enforced the rules with their employees; at the moment we are paying our rates and getting second class service from the bin-men.

Rex Hilson, Old Basing.