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Claims move would be illegal
9:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in News
PLANS to convert a former Basingstoke allotments site into housing have been halted for now after councillors questioned the legality of the proposal.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was seeking the green light to ask for Government approval to decommission the 4.2-acre site, paving the way for 40 houses and a 1.4-acre park.
But members of the council’s economic prosperity and performance overview and scrutiny committee refused to back decommissioning the site amid concerns that residents had not been properly consulted.
“Residents were never ever given the option ro keep it [South View] as allotments,” said Cllr Harvey. His comments centred around a series of public consultations on the future of South View allotments in March 2009 and February 2010.
The 2010 consultation had asked residents to pick one of four options on the future of the site, which had become scrubland after the last allotment closed in 1983.
The options included leaving the site as it is, turning it into a park, developing it for housing, or developing it for housing and park.
Eighty eight cent voted against any houses, but the borough council endorsed the fourth option as a “balanced compromise” between the need for housing and the residents’ demands.
But Cllr Harvey stated that “under no circumstances had the option of allotments been put forward” in either consultation – which he claimed was illegal under Government regulations.
The borough council’s Cabinet member for property and finance, Cllr John Izett, said the committee’s concerns needed “to be looked at further”.