Local MP Maria Miller has asked for an urgent review by Government of the decision taken by Basingstoke Council on Wednesday evening to approve a new mass Distribution Warehouses to be built at Junction 7 of the M3, in the face of ongoing uncertainty over their impact on the viability of a preferred site for the new local Hospital, part of the Government’s Hospital Improvement Plan, a major national infrastructure programme.
Maria Miller along with MPs Kit Malthouse, Ranil Jayawardena. Steve Brine, Flick Drummond and Damian Hinds wrote to the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick in March asking him to take immediate action to halt any planning application for Mass Distribution Warehouses on a site neighbouring one of the preferred locations for the new Hospital which would serve the people of north and mid Hampshire. The MPs want to ensure that the infrastructure needed for the new Hospital is given priority over any speculative commercial applications, particularly in terms of the road capacity needed for up to 4 new commercial distribution centres, which form the original application. The Hospital plans were in the process of being developed when a speculative commercial application for the neighbouring site was submitted. The County Council have already identified road capacity in the area as a concern.
Maria said, “It has taken 2 years to identify possible sites for the new Hospital and it is crucial that the viability of this preferred site at Junction 7 of the M3 is not compromised because of a speculative commercial planning application. Working with 5 other local MPs we have asked to Government to intervene on Basingstoke Council’s planning decision because of the potentially negative impact on delivering the Government’s Plans for a new Hospital in our community, part of the Government’s major infrastructure project to deliver 40 Hospitals across the country.
“The plans for a new Hospital are an essential part of Basingstoke’s future and they have to take priority. We owe that to the staff at the Hospital and the community in North and Mid Hampshire. I hope that the Government’s intervention at this stage can ensure that this preferred site is not jeopardised simply because the NHS planning processes do not move as quickly as commercial property developers.
“The Secretary of State confirmed to me last week that he would consider halting the application once Basingstoke Council had made their intention clear. It’s disappointing the application was not turned down by the Council at this initial stage, given its’ speculative nature and the potential impact on plans for such a vital part of our local health service. The Government now has the opportunity to consider the application before it goes any further, and to ensure the application is halted if it in anyway negatively impacts the new Hospital to serve our town and Borough.”
“We need to put the health of the community first. The NHS Hospital design and planning process is a complex and lengthy process. Our Hospital Trust need time to get that right. In the meantime we need the Government to ensure the preferred site is protected from any planning applications which could put it at risk.”