Preparatory works start at Manydown

Survey works have begun at Manydown

Survey works have begun at Manydown to prepare the land for infrastructure works in 2022 ahead of new homes in 2023.

The works – an important element of any development – include a range of archaeological trench digs and excavation as well as utility and drainage evaluations, providing a fuller picture of the character and history of the area.

This initial archaeological trenching is expected to last up to four months and follows earlier surveys, completed as part of the planning process, which did not highlight any archaeological finds of national importance.
Following the completion of the trenching, open excavation work is expected to take place during 2022, which will give a greater understanding of the heritage of the land. Any archaeological evidence will be carefully recorded and collected in line with national standards, which will allow archaeologists to reveal further insights into the earliest chapters in Basingstoke’s story which can then be shared with the local community.

The unique partnership delivering Manydown is between the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, and master developer Urban&Civic with co-investment from global charity the Wellcome Trust.

The partnership’s approach to the archaeology study has been developed in liaison with archaeologists at Hampshire County Council and Historic England.

The creation of Manydown will bring together up to 3,520 characterful new homes with the beautiful countryside of the area. There will be two primary schools with land reserved for a potential new secondary school, local centres, businesses, shops and community facilities, with a 250-acre park, which will enhance the landscape, boost biodiversity and provide a place for leisure and learning for years to come.

Richard Coppell, Group Development Director of Urban&Civic, the organisation leading on the delivery of Manydown, said: “Whilst these initial works are important, they are one of the first visible signs of work on site and we want to keep our local communities updated. Archaeological work will be a continuing feature over the next 12 months and behind the scenes, we are working closely with our partners to get ready for a construction start in 2022.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Major Projects Cllr John Izett said: “It is welcome news that, after years of careful planning and talking to local communities about what they want to see at Manydown, the preparations for starting development are beginning. This is a significant step on our journey towards creating an outstanding new community including a 250-acre country park that will provide sustainable homes, great community facilities and new employment opportunities, all in a great living environment.”

Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “The start of preparatory work on site at Manydown is a positive milestone in the progression of this exciting development. Manydown is set to create a vibrant new community for Basingstoke, with easy access to amenities, surrounded by parkland and nature. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, this is also a welcome demonstration of economic activity in Hampshire that is supporting jobs and growth.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Development Control Committee resolved to grant outline planning permission for Manydown last year.

MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) has been appointed to carry out the first phase of archaeological works on the Manydown site. They have offices in Basingstoke and are therefore familiar with the local area.