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Use of site 'must meet the borough's needs'
ANY new bid to build on the former Eli Lilly site in Basingstoke must be looked at with “fresh eyes” – even if that includes more housing.
That’s the view of borough council leader Councillor Clive Sanders after an ambitious £300million scheme for the Kingsclere Road site collapsed.
Developer Lemon Land wanted to build more than 400 homes as well as shops, offices and a hotel on the former pharmaceutical factory and its neighbouring Victoria lot.
Lemon Land was granted outline planning permission for the scheme in 2010 despite a passionate appeal from neighbouring residents, who claimed additional traffic and parking problems would make life a “misery”.
However, the scheme has hit the buffers. In January, Sentinel Housing Association purchased the 6.6-acre Victoria lot and last week The Gazette revealed Lemon Land’s deal to purchase the Eli Lilly site had fallen through.
Cllr Sanders, below, told The Gazette: “We want to make sure what goes on that site is something that meets the needs of Basingstoke and Deane as a whole.
“It is a good opportunity for industrial usage but we should not ignore the possibility of having good, affordable homes where people want to have them. It would be wrong for me to pre-judge anybody’s application at this stage.”
Cllr Sanders added: “There can sometimes be hiccups in development and the fact that Lemon Land is not proceeding is a reflection of the current state of the property market.
“In terms of what should go on there, that is dependent on who buys the land and what proposals they put forward. It would be wrong for me to pre-judge anybody’s application at this stage.
“Situations always change. You have just got to go back and look at it with a fresh pair of eyes when a new application comes in.
“What I will say is it is always good to see affordable housing on brownfield sites because that protects the need for building on green fields and we should not turn our back on that.”