Our local plan

Dear Editor

Representations to Council questioning the recommendation to approve the proposed warehouse at Junction 7, all 100 acres of tarmac and concrete 25 to 27 metres in height, were ignored in April.

This despite material omissions in the Officer Report to councillors relating to loss of mature oak woodland and biodiversity and damage to landscape and nature networks and while relying on questionable economic justifications and the impacts of traffic and pollution on future residents.

Rather than attaching importance to environmental issues in accordance with local and national policies, arguments for refusal were subordinated to a determination to get approval for this development no matter what the consequences.That decision is shortly to be reviewed by the Council.

This is not an argument about jobs.

Junction 7 is an attractive location, but about the type of development that has been lobbied for and the damaging effects on life and livelihoods from a 24 hour temple to import-fuelled consumption with job losses here and across the country.

It is my view that the developer and the council from the beginning were determined to avoid the environmental and economic issues that might lead to the application being rejected.

It appears that at an early stage (at least by February 2020 if not as early as August 2019) the developer had the understanding that the site was theirs for the taking.

England has the lowest extent of mature deciduous woodland in Europe and our planet has been decimated.

There will always be a developer who will want to cherry pick and destroy what little nature we have left for a profit, and always a council ready to accommodate them irrespective of the carnage.

Surely by now we should have learned we need leadership on the environment not the opposite.

There is no argument that Amazon is efficient. It is so efficient that if you interrogate the internet you will discover that Chinese companies are flocking to use Amazon because it makes selling overseas so easy.

What this development would mean then is gratuitous wrecking of yet more of our environment and landscapes to export jobs to China while sucking in ever more unsustainable consumption.

We need good jobs for our residents to produce sustainable products and services, with companies that pay their fair share of taxes and help to restore nature, not damage it even more.

The Local Plan is OUR Local Plan.

What is the point of a Local Plan if residents can have no confidence in its execution?

Paul Beevers

Manydown site

Dear Editor

Some of the archaeological digs, (and also geophysical work) on the Manydown site in respect of the development were started around six years ago.

Your article gives the impression that that process has only just begun. It would seem that the local historical societies were not properly informed of this.

If so, why not? I did take some pictures from the site and will post them on to you. Also some of the correspondence that David Hopkins sent to me.

We have a bit of a dilemma here. The land was earmarked and bought by our two councils for housing development.

But what if something of national importance is found that must be left in situ, and means that a housing project must either be curtailed, or cancelled?

A problem here of course is that planning permission was given before relevant information could be made available.

Mr Paul FitzPatrick, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke

Thanks to the people who helped 

Dear Editor,

I was in town last Thursday and walking to Waitrose when l fell heavily to the ground. A gentleman passing in his car stopped and helped me get up. I walked on a bit but feeling very rough l just leant against a bar. A lady passing with a suitcase, so obviously missing her train, asked what was wrong and insisted on walking me to Waitrose to get help and a drink of water.

At this point she was joined by four young men on their lunch break from Matrix who also helped. It turned out in the end that l had broken my wrist.

I would like through the Gazette to thank these good people. There are plenty of kind people in the world.

Suad Thrift, 7 Croft Road, Oakley

Closed bus station

Dear Editor,

Regarding Letters to the Editor in this week's Basingstoke Gazette, I totally agree with Linda Morris letter regarding the closure of the bus station waiting room.

There is no reason why the waiting room has been closed for many, many months. Other towns are operating normally.

There is another bugbear of mine. Is it beyond the wit of man that Basingstoke Railway Station or Basingstoke Council cannot find someone to repair or replace the clock above the station.

This clock has not been in working order for at least two years, maybe longer. Does no-one care how this looks to visitors?

Is Basingstoke a town that has lost interest in how it is perceived ?

Yes, get the town centre up and running again with shops reopening but start with the small things.

If a shop facade has a missing letter or bulb broken from its illuminated sign, get it repaired and please, please repair the blessed clock.


Climate change

Dear Editor, 

Climate change is headline news and is high on the political agenda, as the UK prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November. But the devastating impact of environmental disasters on animals is almost completely overlooked.

Climate change has hit the world’s poorest communities hardest of all and has left millions of working animals at severe threat from drought, flooding, cyclones, wildfires and other serious issues, such as plastic pollution. The spiralling crisis is sadly leading to the spread of disease, injury and loss of life on a massive scale.

In these poverty-stricken regions, working animals – ranging from donkeys and horses to camels, elephants and oxen – have a vital role, making it possible for families to earn a small income and put food on the table. But climate change is threatening the survival of these animals and the communities they support.

SPANA is carrying out projects to provide water, food, lifesaving veterinary care and vaccinations to working animals in desperate need. We’re also calling for urgent international action to assist these animals and the vulnerable people that depend on them.

This World Animal Day (4 October), please visit www.spana.org/worldanimalday and help us to prevent suffering and protect working animals facing the brunt of environmental catastrophe.

Linda Edwards, Chief Executive, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad)