‘It proves council cares more about people than money’
Two days after the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council threw out a planning application to build a giant Lidl warehouse in Dummer, the people who have been objecting to the plan shared their relief and joy. Team behind the Clean Air Green Environment (CAGE) group, that has been protesting the plans by Newlands Developments, said they are happy that common sense has finally prevailed. Newlands' planning application to build a distribution depot at Oakdown Farm in Dummer was refused by the development control committee for a second time in one year.
The committee voted to refuse the application based on the detrimental impact of the proposed development on the character and visual amenity of the landscape. : Council refuses plan to build Lidl warehouse at Basingstoke Gateway Ian Robertson, chairman of CAGE, said the decision to refuse the application was the best for people of Basingstoke.
But he doesn't think it was a victory for just CAGE, but rather the people of Dummer and Basingstoke. "It wasn't us versus them," Mr Robertson said. "The developers were clearly motivated by the financial side and wanted to put the best image forward that they can.
People on the other side wanted what's best for Basingstoke. "CAGE was formed to represent the feelings of the larger population of this area, which is several thousand people. We try to amplify public opinion - in this case, over 99% per cent were against the plan, and we put together the arguments against it."
Two planning applications submitted by Newlands for an Amazon warehouse at the same site were refused by the council last year. Although they appealed against the decision five months later, they withdrew this appeal, and submitted a revised application for a Lidl warehouse. Newlands claimed that the revised applications was 65 per cent smaller than the previous application - down from 271,000 square metres to 101,000 square metres.
However, the protesters argued successfully that the reduction is only in internal floorspace, but the overall footprint and height of the buildings were about the same. Christine Northam, who handles the communication for CAGE, said: "One of the things that struck me about the meeting was how long it takes and how many times everybody has to repeat to everybody that what the developers said was misleading. "They said that this was vastly reduced in size, it just wasn't true.
It was only the fact that there wasn't a mezzanine floor in it that made the difference. But what they should have said and what they didn't want to say was the footprint of this house is exactly the same, if not slightly bigger than the Amazon one. "They didn't want to say that, but it took ages for people to realise that because it's very seductive and this is a business deal.
As far as they're concerned, they can't give a damn about Basingstoke, about other families around, and they're in it to make money. That's what they're there for." Mrs Northam added that the group is very happy to know that the counsellors cared enough about the environment, the landscape and the impact that this would have on future planning in the area, given the absence of an updated local plan.
"We were very pleased that this has given everybody a chance to draw breath," she said. "We are hoping that the developers think that they'd spent enough time and money on this exercise to know that there is an incredibly strong body of opposition here. And let's hope that they'll abandon it, but we would be naive if we thought that.
But that's our hope. SEE ALSO: Basingstoke business centre acquired by developers "We think we're very proud that Basingstoke council turned it down, because it shows that the council cares more about people, the environment, and the landscape than they do about just money."
Newlands Developments have been contacted for a comment. Message from the editor Thank you for reading this story.
We really appreciate your support.
Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.