The way forward following the judicial review decision on Manydown
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which jointly owns land at Manydown, west of Basingstoke, with Hampshire County Council, is advertising nationally for specialist development experts to work on drawing up a high level vision for a high quality future development of the 2,000 acre site.
The decision on whether the land will be proposed as a housing site in the planning blueprint for the borough to 2029 – the Local Plan - is set to be taken by the council as planning authority in the spring before public consultation on all proposed sites. But as part of this all land owners need to submit draft overview proposals for how development could take shape in the years to come, so the council has to do this for Manydown.
A first stage in the project will be the ‘visioning work’, setting the framework and design principles for future work. The initial work will show how high quality phased development could be created that will be recognised as best practice nationally. Later stages will look at detailed planning such as green corridors to protect existing communities, a country park, new schools, shopping and other facilities and a possible link road between the A339 and junction 7 on the M3 motorway.
Cabinet Member for Property and Finance Cllr John Izett, who is the decision-maker for Manydown on the landowning side of the council, said: “There are many challenges ahead but there is also an opportunity to achieve an exemplary development over the years ahead. The fact that we are advertising nationally for ‘best in class’, innovative and experienced companies to help in drawing up an inspiring vision for the future of Manydown shows how important it is to us that we get this right. Our goal is to provide a place where people will want to live - one that protects existing communities and brings significant benefits to the town and borough.”
The council is also advertising for a highly qualified project manager with a proven track record of working on major residential land schemes to pull together all of the other studies and investigations needed, including looking at ways of attracting investment from external partners for the infrastructure needed.
The Manydown land was acquired in 1996 for the purpose of long term comprehensive development but the first proposals for the land were rejected by a government planning inspector in 2005. A High Court judgement earlier this year ruled that the land should be considered for development as part of the new Local Plan to 2029 and Council voted in July this year to put forward the land for development.