Basingstoke and Deane Council are consulting - at relatively short notice - on the future of the Manydown Land jointly owned by the Borough and the County. This land is part of a strategic gap between Basingstoke and Oakley, and there is local opposition to the inclusion of this site in the Draft Local Plan for residential development after 2011.
"My constituents in Oakley have contacted me about this exercise and I have reflected their concern in a letter to the Director of Development - see below"
Director of Planning
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
Civic Offices, London Road
Hampshire RG21 4AH 21st May 2003
Manydown Community Briefing No.1
I was very surprised to learn that Basingstoke and Deane has circulated a document with the above title, and has commissioned a team – Manydown Community Advisors (MCA) – to work up more detailed proposals for the site. The newsletter says that “the role of Basingstoke and Deane as the Borough Council and Hampshire as the County Council in the Manydown proposal may be a little confusing”. I believe that circulating this document will only add to this confusion.
At the moment, the First Deposit Draft Local Plan is going through the statutory process. The Borough has proposed that, in the years from 2011 onwards, development might take place in the Manydown area. This proposal is being fiercely resisted by a number of organisations in my constituency, and I am not aware that a final decision has been taken.
Against that background, I do not see why it is necessary to have this consultation exercise at this stage. If development proceeds, it cannot start until 2011 at the earliest. Surely it would be proper for the principle to be established as to whether development is going to take place on this site; and, once that principle has been established – if it ever is – then to consult with the local community along the lines of the newsletter.
I was particularly interested to see that the Borough Council is doing this consultation, not as owner of the land, but as planning authority. I would be grateful if you would let me know whether you have taken legal advice on this consultation, as I believe it could be argued that this will prejudice the Borough’s role in the preparation of the Draft Local Plan.