RESIDENTS have expressed concerns that the thousands of homes planned for Basingstoke will not be of good quality if they are built over the next 20 years. 

Residents are being urged to share their thoughts on the local plan which will shape the future of the borough until 2040. 

Government calculations suggest as many as 17,820 new homes need to be built by the end of 2039 and eight sites have been earmarked for major development by the council. 

The plan includes a ‘stepped trajectory’ approach, put forward by the new administration, which will see the current government figure of building 850 homes a year, reduced to under 700 a year from 2025 for the first five years of the plan.

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Basingstoke Gazette: The drop in event at Festival PlaceThe drop in event at Festival Place (Image: Newsquest)On Saturday, February 3, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council held their third drop-in event in Festival Place. 

Sarah Stacey told the Gazette she is 'annoyed' that the town is being forced to build such a high number of new homes, but urged the council to focus on improving the roads, schools, playgrounds and health provisions too. 

She added: "All the jobs that come are low-rate jobs, like the new warehouses, they're all on minimum wage. Look at all the empty shops - no one can spend money.

"And, if they do build all these houses they need to be built properly, we don't need bad homes full of mould in 20 years." 

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Britjesh Patel, who lives in Crown Heights described the plans as good but said they are a ‘conflict of policy’ due to the amount of homes planned and the desire to slow down building.  

He said: “When I moved here, I had a job in Basing View and Crown Heights is in the town centre – on paper it looked good but now it is not because I cannot sell my flat.  

“I hope the new houses are built properly, I hope it is not a repeat of the situation I am in now. But I do worry."

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Mike Penny, who has lived in Oakley for 12 years, welcomes the new Manydown development so his grandchildren have more options to stay in the borough. But he urged the council to focus on provision for the new residents. 

He said: “We’ve known it’s been coming for decades. It’s just the way it is. There are always going to be people who are opposed to it.

"But there also needs to be space for people to meet and go to, if you’re going to build out there it’s going to be isolating without anywhere to go. 

“Housing is needed, and it needs to be affordable, we need to make sure the new homes are quality housing, especially if it’s social housing."

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Jackie Shead has lived in the Black Dam area for eight years and is concerned about how built up the town is. 

She said: "I think the houses are being built on too much green space, and they're too close to what is already here. It is madness. Spread them out.  

"I know we need homes, but we also need green areas too. We have parks around, but you can get around them in 20 minutes  – it’s not the same."

Basingstoke Gazette: Jackie Shead fears the town is becoming built upJackie Shead fears the town is becoming built up (Image: Newsquest)

South Ham residents Michelle and Nigel Bate expressed concerns for the future of Basingstoke's oldest estates, both said they feel the estate had been 'abandoned'. 

Mr Bate added: “The council are planning for the new houses, but nothing left in South Ham anymore, the pub on King’s Road shut and West Side is closed.

"The sense of community is going. People used to travel here for their hobbies and things, but not anymore." 

Basingstoke Gazette: Council Leader, Cllr Paul Harvey, is pleased so many people are getting involvedCouncil Leader, Cllr Paul Harvey, is pleased so many people are getting involved (Image: Newsquest)Council leader, Cllr Paul Harvey was at Festival Place speaking to residents. 

He told the Gazette: "I have been pleased to see so many people taking part. It will affect everyone and it is important we do our best to get it right.  

"People are always going to feel strongly about this. There are so many different views and that is a good thing. People care about Basingstoke and it is good that people want to help so we get things right.”

Addressing the concerns about the number of homes, he said: "If the government would do away with the top-down targets, then we would be in a different place but we aren’t. This is what we have to deliver, there's a very fine line - we think we've done it.

“A lot of people are saying we should ignore the government and not plan to build all these houses, but my question to them is what would you do? We have planning and legal advisors telling us we have to meet these targets.”