A LEADING environmental campaigner has urged Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to transform a 3,000-home development into a trailblazing “transition town”.

Martin Heath, director of Basingstoke Energy Services Co-operative and co-founder of Basingstoke Transition Network, has called on the borough council to turn the 3,000 homes expected to be built on Manydown into a “world-leading” transition town which would be the most environmentally-friendly homes built in the borough.

Mr Heath has already sent a document to the borough council to show the potential of the land which is owned by them and Hampshire County Council.

In the document, it says: “Our local councils own a half share in 2,000 acres of prime building land. The income from the sale of just half of the Manydown development area could self-finance the infrastructure we need.

“The money raised can provide the infrastructure we need. It can ensure that 40 per cent of the homes are affordable social housing. The transition town would put Basingstoke at the heart of a New Green Deal.”

Mr Heath told The Gazette: “Manydown is a world-leading opportunity for Basingstoke to put it on the map. If East Hampshire can have the vision, why not Basingstoke, and East Hampshire don’t have the housing crisis we do.

“It is about making it a much more sustainable community. Let’s start by being really visionary and not make another Popley, Buckskin, Kempshott or Chineham.

“Firstly, the homes have to be built to the highest possible standard – to code for sustainable homes level – and if we build them to that level, then it is extremely good for the carbon footprint.

“But, it also means that we don’t use as much water because the new homes are not designed to use much water. They could even go for the option of Passive houses where the energy comes from solar (power) and there is a tiny amount of heating needed.”

In addition, Mr Heath also said that the borough council could build an anaerobic digester which could process food cuttings into energy for homes on the development.

Councillor John Izett, the council’s Cabinet member for property, finance and commissioning, said: “Manydown represents a huge opportunity for Basingstoke’s future. We want to deliver homes and jobs and build a great community at Manydown for our residents and their children.

“In order to achieve this aim, we have developed a masterplan to create good quality homes that are well designed, energy efficient, make good use of resources and that also provide a choice for all of our residents, young and old.”