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Discussions start on vision for land north of M3 junction seven

News release 9814, published on 28 Oct 2020
Borough councillors are to discuss an early draft of a strategic vision for land to the north of junction seven of the M3 next week, followed by engagement with local communities to hear their views and thoughts.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Economic, Planning and Housing Committee meeting on Wednesday 5 November will comment on the draft vision, before wider consultation on the document running from later in November until January next year.

Focusing on the joined-up planning and delivery of infrastructure needed to support residents’ quality of life, opportunities for new jobs and better facilities, the draft vision aims to draw together a number of different projects and opportunities in the area, ensuring that addressing climate change is at the heart of future proposals.

Land near to junction seven of the M3 is one of the two options being considered for a new hospital and medical campus in Basingstoke, as announced by the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust yesterday (Tuesday 27 October). The other is based on the current site of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

A planning application is currently under consideration for land at Oakdown Farm adjacent to M3 junction seven for a 271,000 sqm distribution centre.

The council is already working with highway authorities to move forward the transport strategy for the borough. This includes looking at the future capacity of junction seven and planning ahead for a 21st century public mass rapid transport system connecting the area to the town centre and bus and railway stations. The vision picks up the need to look at the connectivity to the town centre along the A30 corridor, improving cycle and walking links and reducing bus journey times.

The vision recognises that this area is an important gateway to the town from the south west with nearby historic villages with their own distinctive identities. It sets out the need to reflect the characteristics of the local environment and the potential concerns of nearby communities in any future development. This includes proposing new strategic gaps around villages such as North Waltham and Dummer.

It also focuses on the protection and enhancement of key features in the historic environment, such as nearby conservation areas and a scheduled monument, as well as the potential for linked green corridors between key habitats, benefiting the natural environment and providing recreational opportunities for nearby communities.

The council is in the very early stages of updating the Local Plan which will set out a strategy for meeting the borough’s needs, including homes and employment, beyond 2029. This is a lengthy and detailed process with the plan due for adoption around 2023. A number of developers and landowners have already put forward sites in the surrounding area for consideration for possible development in the earliest stages of drawing up this plan.

The aim of the vision is to guide early discussions, helping to set the direction for future planning policy which will emerge as the new Local Plan is developed. Considering wider needs such as health, education, water and sewerage, the vision highlights areas where investment or more detailed work would be needed, especially to improve infrastructure and help other local services to plan ahead in a coordinated way.

Cabinet member for Planning Infrastructure and the Natural Environment Cllr Mark Ruffell said: “The draft vision will set out the key issues for consideration and it will provide some direction on how this area could be developed in the future. There will then be a period of consultation so that interested parties and local residents can shape the vision. We hope that by working together, we can create ambitious proposals that will deliver the types of places, with the right investment and infrastructure, that will support a thriving local economy that is compatible with our need to address climate change and improve biodiversity."

Based upon comments received and any additional technical evidence available, the vision is set to be updated for adoption in March 2021.

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