Special buses are being laid on next Sunday to help people from the communities around Manydown give their views as part of a community engagement event kick starting the master planning of the proposed new homes to be built at Manydown.

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Residents are being encouraged to come along to the Shaping Manydown: The Place and its Community event being held in a heated marquee in Basingstoke’s War Memorial Park from 12 noon to 6pm on Saturday 14 November and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 15 November.

The central location has been chosen to help people get there by public transport, but extra ‘hopper’ buses have been laid on to make it easier to attend when normal bus services are less frequent on the Sunday. Those wanting to go along can take a bus on one of three routes with pick up points at from bus stops at St Lawrence’s Church in Wootton St Lawrence; the junction of Croft Road and Oakley Lane; Sainsbury’s in Hatch Warren; Winklebury Centre; the junction of Cambrian Way and Buckskin Way; the junction of Buckingham Parade and Kempshott Lane (Southbound); Sherborne St John Village Hall; Monk Sherborne Village Hall and Rooksdown Community Centre. The full timetable is at www.manydownbasingstoke.co.uk/bus-timetable

These public exhibition drop-in sessions will follow two days of workshops where people representing the neighbouring communities, local specialists and other organisations who will be contributing to the planning Manydown will be working with master planners and other designers to help shape what the development of the northern part of Manydown up to 2029 needs to look, feel and be like.

Ideas and suggestions of different options for the development, for example types of cycleways, styles of homes and business units and locations of neighbourhood centres, community facilities, schools, health services and open spaces, will be drawn up ‘real time’ as part of these workshops. These drawings will be displayed as a public exhibition on the Saturday and Sunday to give residents a chance to add their comments and views.

Although people can come along at any time during the opening hours on the two days and stay as long as they like, there will be workshops running throughout the day that they can get involved in if they wish. For example there will be sessions looking at ‘issues and asks’ for adjacent communities and what qualities and features Manydown should have.

Younger members of the community who come along will be invited to get busy with pens and pencils to add some ideas of their own and there will also be other activities to keep them occupied while their parents give their views.

The borough council’s Cabinet member leading on Manydown, Cllr John Izett, said: “We are committed to getting the community involved in planning Manydown from the very earliest stage. There will be plenty of opportunities for people to have their say as we draw up and consult on a masterplan next year, including exhibitions in the communities surrounding north Manydown and in other public places in the borough.

But before we start the process of reaching conclusions about what it could look like, we want to hear local people’s thoughts on what would make it a good place to live near, as well as live in. I hope as many people as possible will join us for the drop-in sessions next weekend and for the workshops leading up to them.

Cllr Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “These drop-in sessions will be an opportunity for local residents to see the initial ideas around the development at Manydown, and a chance for people to add their own thoughts and suggestions as plans begin to take shape. It is important for local residents to make their views known at the very early stages in the pre-planning process, and this is a significant opportunity to do that.”

Full details of the event, along with timings for area workshop sessions being held during the two days, is available on the website at www.manydownbasingstoke.co.uk or by calling the Freephone information line on 08081 683 600.

As the joint owners of a 999-year lease on the land, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have appointed a highly skilled and experienced team of specialists to work on the complex development project. The community design event is part of the early stage of engagement in the development of a planning application for the northern part of Manydown, proposed for around 3,400 new homes in the draft Local Plan up to 2029.