The answer to your headline “Is cricket ground in jeopardy?” is: probably not, if everybody keeps calm and acts sensibly.

Contrary to the social media posts that you quote, what Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have published is not a Local Plan, it is the first stage of a Local Plan update and consists entirely of proposals by landowners and developers. There is a long time to go before we will see a new Local Plan and there will be opportunities for local people to influence decisions made along the way. As things are, B&DBC have applied the strongest protection to the Cricket Ground that they can at this stage.

You write that “the cricket club remains sceptical and cites previous disputes with the B&DBC”. I represented Whitchurch on the Borough Council for eleven years until 2018 and was never made aware of any such disputes. The only contact that I had from the cricket club was from one member who said that the rent for the ground was too expensive and asked if the Council could help find a cheaper site. [FULL DISCLOSURE: I was once joint winner of a bottle of Moldovan Champagne in a cricket club quiz].

There is one way that the field could be “in jeopardy”; several years ago the same landowner appealed to the Secretary of State against refusal of planning permission for houses on the former allotments in Bloswood Drive. Work is starting on that building site this week. B&DBC had refused permission and defended the decision at a public enquiry. Council Officers and elected Councillors worked together on the case but were defeated. This had nothing to do with the Local Plan.

Responding to the consultation that is taking place, Whitchurch Town Council has proposed that the cricket ground and two adjoining fields should be adopted as a single Local Green Space. The last sentence of the Town Council submission is “The playing of Cricket in such beautiful surroundings is a tradition that must be preserved for future generations”. Let’s all unite around that sentiment and try to avoid sniping at people whose help we might need later on.

Keith Watts