We need to catch our breath.

This week the Council will sit down with the Planning Inspector to answer a set of questions that the Inpsetor raised about our proposed local development plan. The headline summary is that the Planning Inspector would like to see Basingstoke build more homes. This despite the fact that Basingstoke has consistently built more homes that it was required to under previous plans, on average 17% more than required over the last 10 years. Compared with Hart we have built more than twice as many homes per person than they have, and it’s a similar story with Reading, Winchester and West Berkshire. The plan we have proposes 748 new homes a year, which is almost 50% higher than the initial figure presented. For Basingstoke to build more than this would be madness, and we must ensure that no building starts until the appropriate infrastructure (roads, schools, clinics, water & sewage etc.) is in place. Basingstoke has carried far more than its share of the housing burden over recent years. We need time to absorb that growth and to catch our breath. It’s all very well for the Inspector to have eye’s bigger than our stomach, but it’s the residents who will suffer from very unpleasant indigestion if he has his way. The Council must hold firm on its plans to build no more than 748 homes a year. Even that amount will leave us feeling bloated.