The second largest settlement in the borough is the Tadley/Baughurst/Pamber Heath area, on the northern borough boundary, with a population approaching 16,000. The western part of the borough is dominated by the sparsely populated North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On the periphery of this area are several settlements of 3,000 to 5,000 population, such as Overton and Whitchurch, both of which lie in the upper valley of the River Test.
The River Loddon rises in Basingstoke, flowing through old Basing and Sherfield-On-Loddon in the eastern part of the borough. Elsewhere, numerous small villages and hamlets are scattered throughout the rural parts of the borough.
At the 2011 Census, the borough had a younger than average age profile, with nearly 25% of the population aged 19 or under, and less than 21% of the population aged 60 or older. In the medium term, on the basis of identified future housing development, together with current trends in life expectancy and migration, the over-60 age group is predicted to increase most rapidly, reaching nearly 39,900 people (over 23% of the total population) by 2019(2); of these, about 30,900 will be aged over 65 (over 18% of total population).
Looking further ahead, the borough population is projected to exceed 195,000 by 2031(3), of whom about 43,000 (over 22%) are projected to be aged over 65.
Over 70% of the recent and planned major development is located within the central area of Basingstoke town and around the northern urban fringe of the town.
85% of the borough's working age population are economically active (4), significantly higher than the national average of less than 77%. Unemployment is relatively low at around 5.0% (5) of the economically active working age population, which is slightly lower than the average rate of 5.9% for South East England.
Basingstoke’s strategic location on the national road and rail networks has contributed to its success as an employment centre, with about 80% of the borough’s jobs located in Basingstoke town. The borough’s close proximity to London, to the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and to Heathrow, Gatwick and Southampton airports, has also helped its commercial success.
Commuting data from the 2011 Census is not yet available, but previous sources indicate that the number of residents commuting out of the borough to work in nearby centres such as Newbury or Reading, or further afield in London, is counter-balanced by those commuting into the borough from other parts of Hampshire and surrounding counties. At the 2001 Census, the borough’s enterprises and businesses provided jobs for two thirds of its employed residents, a higher ‘self sufficiency’ ratio than any other Hampshire District. Overall, the borough provides about 83,600 (6) jobs and is home to about 6,200 (7) businesses occupying over 7,000 different sites.
Average earnings levels compare favourably with wage levels for Hampshire and the South East, and with the national average, but affordability of house prices is an issue for many of the borough’s younger residents. Recent developments have increased the proportion of smaller homes for one- and two-person households.
While the 2011 Census shows that level of access to cars is generally high, there are some communities where up to 30% of households do not have access to their own transport. While over 70% of Borough residents travel to work by car or van, access to affordable transport in rural areas and in some parts of our towns remains an issue.
The English Indices of Deprivation 2010 (ID 2010) indicate that Basingstoke and Deane experiences relatively little deprivation in the national context. When all indicators are combined into the 'Index of Multiple Deprivation' (IMD 2010), only four of the 104 geographical areas (into which the borough was at that time divided) fall within the 30% most deprived in England. More than half fall within the least deprived 20% in England, 9 of them within the 1% least deprived nationally. However, some parts of the borough experience relatively high levels of disadvantage in terms of education, crime and income.
Within the borough, there are 16 Infant, 16 Junior, 26 Primary and 11 Secondary schools supported by Hampshire County Council as the Local Education Authority, as well as private sector schools. Post-16 education is served in the further education colleges of Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) and Queen Mary’s College. While a number pupils and students from outside the borough also attend these educational facilities, some families in the borough also make use of schools and colleges outside the borough.
The 2011 Census showed that over 30% of Basingstoke and Deane’s population aged 16 and over are educated to degree level or equivalent, just above average levels for Hampshire and the South East, and higher than England and Wales as a whole. The Census also showed that 17% of the borough’s population aged 16 and over had no qualifications, below the county, regional or national average.
GCSE results in recent years have shown grades for the borough’s pupils to be around national levels in terms of the percentage gaining 5 or more A* to C grades, but lower than the Hampshire average. In terms of all results (pupils gaining five or more A* to G grades) the borough’s pupils generally exceed both national and Hampshire averages.
There is a strong voluntary and community sector in the borough, with about 1,000 active organisations. The 2011 'State of the Sector Report' (8) showed that 271 of these local organisations were supported by over 9,000 volunteers. Information provided on volunteering hours by 216 ot these organisations revealed that 7,961 volunteers provide 1,414,478 volunteering hours p.a. with an estimated value to the economy of more than £14.5m.
There are 24 community facilities and 65 village halls in the borough, where a wide range of activities take place, including health services, education and learning, arts clubs, uniformed groups, social clubs and events, and sporting activities. The voluntary and community sector also works alongside the statutory organisations, delivering highly valued services to the public.
Residents enjoy a wide range of publicly provided leisure services and facilities in and around the borough such as arts venues, museums and sports facilities, parks, local nature reserves and woodlands. This is complemented by a range of private sector attractions such as cinemas, health clubs, golf and tennis clubs and equestrian facilities. 92% of borough residents feel that Basingstoke and Deane is a good place to live (9).
'Festival Place', a major redevelopment of Basingstoke town centre in 2002, has greatly enhanced the borough's shopping, restaurant/café and leisure facilities. Together with the subsequent refurbishment of 'The Malls', the town centre continues to attract both local and regional shoppers.
(1) Projected from 2011 Census figure of 167,800
(2) 2012-based Small Area Population Forecasts, HCC (April 2013)
(3) 2010-based Subnational Population Projections, ONS (March 2012)
(4) Annual Population Survey Jan 2012-Dec 2012, ONS
(5) Annual Population Survey Jan 2012-Dec 2012, ONS - this Model-based unemployment rate is now considered to be a more realistic measure of unemployment than the Job Seekers Allowance claimant count which stands at about 2.1% (March 2013)
(6) Annual Business Inquiry – employee jobs 2008
(7) UK Business: activity, size and location 2008
(8) State of the Voluntary and Community Sector in the Borough, Basingstoke Voluntary Services – 2011
(9) BDBC Residents' Survey 2012