Listed as one of the safest places to live in the UK, Basingstoke's low crime figures are in part due to its proximity to the M3 motorway. Unlike many towns with a similar population and industry, Basingstoke is not a dormitory town, but has a strong retail and commercial base. A number of notable companies are based within Basingstoke including Waitrose, the AA and Haribo (the confectionery company). Despite being near one of the most congested motorways in the UK, air pollution in the town is described by Hampshire County Council as being low.

Basingstoke is governed by a Town Council, which has its offices in the Civic Centre and a Mayor who is elected by the  elected councillors, and a separate District Council, known as Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire Local ( The borough is divided into 15 wards five of these are 'town'wards, while the other ten are named after local villages and hamlets – and each of these elects three councillors. Basingstoke is divided into five wards for County Council elections — Clockwise from the north-west they are: Stanwell, Basingstoke North, Sherborne, Swaythling and Deane.

Curborough Ward became part of the latter ward in 1999 and Oakley & North Waltham Ward became part of Swaythling ward in the reorganisation of 2000. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is the local authority with responsibility for local government. The borough council is unusual in that its executive function and (non-political) chief executive are not elected by the residents of the town but appointed from within the council. It is currently part of the Hampshire Central local-government district, which is a non-metropolitan district of Hampshire County Council.


The Top of Town was for many years home to the Basingstoke Literary & Scientific Society Library, the museum and local amenities. This left a collection of buildings that were mostly vulnerable to redevelopment. The Basingstoke Vision, a new masterplan, aims to reconnect the buildings between Beech Grove and Wellar Place with public realm improvements that allow pedestrians and cyclists to move freely from one side of town to the other. Adjacent to Top of Town is the lower lying Basing View area containing a smaller range of local shops to complement the existing covered markets, and businesses focusing more on financial services.

Along with nearby Overton Close it is in a development phase coinciding with Basingstoke's major retail regeneration plans The Square & St. Michael's scheme. In 2004 a £4. 5 million redevelopment was undertaken which saw the creation of an indoor market and refurbishment of the buildings in the precinct. In 2008 a new shopping and restaurant area called "The Top of Town" opened, with more restaurants, shops and apartments. Basingstoke's Top of Town is home to a variety of independent shops and businesses.

In 2002 Redrow laid out a £7 million retail park in the area. Some 25 stores including Next, Gap Outlet, Monsoon Accessorize and other independent outlets make up Park Place Shopping Centre. The Environs roughly extends from Forest in the south to the Hampshire border in the north. The main shopping areas are Chineham and Baughurst which contain out-of-town shopping facilities such as the Hamble Valley Shopping Centre, and Basing View Village.

The top of town is the historic heart of Basingstoke, housing the Willis Museum in the former town hall building (rebuilt 1832) as well as several locally run shops and the market place. For elections to the county council, the town is divided into two county electoral divisions, Basing and Whitchurch and Deane. Hampshire is located in the country of United Kingdom with (51. 058247, 1. 168636) coordinates.  Bristol is located in the country of England with (51.


The earliest known evidence of occupation of the area now Lymm, besides temporary hunting sites during the Palaeolithic era, is a Neolithic "causewayed enclosure", a precursor to fields and pastures dating from around 4000 BC, discovered at Hanging Bridge (also known as "Mill Gate Bank") in 1875.   This discovery was made by workmen repairing the road near to the bridge over the River Endrick.  The causewayed enclosure contained a flint-knapping site, which has been dated to between 3000 and 2500 BC.

Victorian history

The Great Central and Waterloo & City Railway link to London and the South East was opened in 1898, after a prolonged dispute within Southampton over whether the line should terminate at Northam or the docks. The railway to Waterloo was electrified in 1916 as far as Fratton. The remainder of the line was electrified in January 1939.  A new station, Southampton West, was opened on 6 March 1941 to replace Saintsbury station which closed at this time.

Southampton and Dorchester both became termini when services on the Hamworthy spur were withdrawn in 1966. The coming of the railway led to the growth of new towns in the county and to much new building. London was connected to Southampton by a branch line in 1840, but Portsmouth remained an independent railway centre with lines running north through Fareham to Alton (1839) and Alresford (1853), east through Petersfield to Guildford (1845), Chichester (1844) and Brighton (1846), south to Havant and Chichester by way of Fareham (1847), west via Bishopstoke to Gosport (1847) and east via Sway to Lymington (1865).

In 1859 the London and South Western Railway and Great Western Railway formed a joint venture company to build a line from Reading to Steventon near Hungerford in Berkshire. The new company, the Berks and Hants Extension Railway reached Hungerford in 1862 and was extended to join the Great Western at Wantage Road (now Didcot) on 17 October 18 launching through services between London and the West Country. Some of the flint was carried some distance from sources further north along the Clwydian range.

Recent history

In the postwar period a whole new district of large council estates was built to the north and northeast of the town centre, but after the 1968 New Towns Act it became part of a new town ( population, 1994 estimate ) with Basingstoke and Fleet, extending 50 miles ( 80 km ) along the M3. The architecture of Basingstoke has been shaped by Acts of Parliament, with the Inclosure (which saw the demolition of many C17th timber framed  buildings), and by the Georgian Town Commissioners who wrote detailed building regulations before granting planning permission.

At one time there were more than 70 listed buildings in the Borough but today there are none on the Statutory List; however there are many fine buildings that have protection against. Basingstoke's growth since the war has been dramatic and is seen by some as too extreme. In the 1950s Basingstoke had only one council housing estate and a small satellite settlement called Frankley Green consisting of approximately 80 homes. More estates were built in the 1960s, 70s and 80s including Greendale, Brighton Hill, New Forest Estate, Caspar Close and The Orchard Estate.

Civic amenities were also improved beyond recognition, with the new town hall, police station and fire station being built while Queen Charlotte's Hospital was modernised. This period also saw 4 private hospitals closing between 1966 and 1985 with almost all infrastructure being demolished. A further 30 care homes closed between 1979 and 1983. Like most other towns in the UK, Basingstoke saw its share of run-down houses and roads and a generally poor standard of living, and in 1967, the town was designated a New Town.

The plan to renew the town centre[clarification needed] began in 1972 with replacement shop frontages. It was followed by an ambitious scheme to redevelop the area around the railway station (1974–1976), with the construction of new offices and shopping complexes, including an indoor market. 23 July 1953 saw the opening of the Festival Pier in Basingstoke, initially named The Queen Mother's Wharf. The pier was demolished in 1968. The redevelopment of Festival Place and the pedestrianisation of much of High Street did not have unanimous support in the town, with many local people not wanting a seafront which offered only an entertainment-led leisure centre, without any real sandy beach or other recreational facilities.

As a result of this, Burgess Road has an unusual collection of buildings to commemorate each decade of the 20th century. The 1970s tower block at the corner of Burgess Road and Fairmile is one of the tallest buildings in Basingstoke, and was controversially constructed over the top of an underground stream that flows out towards the motorway. It is likely that it led to flooding during their time on earth. The post-war period saw a large growth in the town with Basingstoke becoming a major training centre for the British Army, several new NHS hospitals were built and the M3 was driven through the town creating what is now known as "Old SindlesWELLy".


The town's population peaked in the mid-1950s, and the council responded to this decline with new strategies for development. Cheap credit encouraged private car ownership and by 1976 over half of Basingstoke households owned a car. Large-scale commercial development of out-of-town sites generated employment and contributed to the rise in population, surpassing the peak of 1971. The greatest growth was in previously sparsely populated areas such as Chineham, which had a growth rate 1,000% higher than the national average in the 1970s.

The borough of Basingstoke and Deane is roughly co-extensive with the town of Basingstoke, with the majority of the borough population living within this area. The next layer of administrative division is the wards: these cover smaller neighbourhoods. The majority of the land in the borough comprises several large parishes: in addition to Basingstoke itself are Budds Hill, North Waltham, Lychpit, St Mary Bourne, South Ham, Laverstock, East Woodhay, Sherborne St John, Kingsclere, Woodcote, Tadley, West Overton and South Ham/Deane.

Demography in the first half of the 20th century reflected Basingstoke's position as a small market town. At that time, many of its inhabitants were employed in agriculture or in crafts derived from it. Its relative isolation inhibited the growth of industry, although there was a brickworks established towards the end of that century. Statistics compiled by the Office for National Statistics show that Basingstoke is the 37th-largest urban subdivision in out of a total of 354 built-up areas in England and Wales.

Musical groups

During the past thirty-five years the band has made several successful concert tours to many parts of Europe including Madrid, Portugal, Venice, Rome and Paris, as well as to North America and music festivals in many parts of England. The Basingstoke Concert Band is one of the busiest community bands in the country and its 350 members range from fourteen to eighty year olds. Every year it makes a number of appearances at many local events including those hosted by Basingstoke town council who have adopted the band as its official town band.

Basingstoke Youth Brass Band was created in 1989 to include youngsters who were falling out of love with competitive school brass banding, or who may. The band has since moved on from Brighton Hill, playing and marching through Basingstoke for many years, and is now part of Basingstoke Music Services. It consists of a mixture of musicians from the local community, as well as school brass players who gain credits to play in the band by studying with Basingstoke Music Services.

There are usually around 65 members in the band, ranging from ages 9 to 60. In its earliest years the band was made up of teachers and pupils at Brighton Hill school, but as the band grew it became a separate organisation with a committee of parents. The Concert Band has performed many concerts around Basingstoke and Deane in venues such as the Coppid Beech Hotel, The White Lion at Basingstoke, Tadley Village Hall and St.

John's Church, Horndean to name but a few. Basingstoke is the home of The Kingdom Brass, winners of the 2010 Yamaha Band contest at the London Royal Albert Hall. The band have appeared in concert with artists such as Katherine Jenkins and Katherine Jenkins   and have also played at Twickenham Stadium for the climax of a match between Harlequins Rugby Club and Saracens. The Basingstoke Concert Band,  founded in 1975, is a community wind band based in Basingstoke.

Originally a nine-piece brass band the group soon evolved into a traditional concert band, following the successful formula of the Reading Youth Concert Band founded by John Lavender. The Basingstoke Concert Band is a wind orchestra of between 35 and 40 members and boasts an extensive repertoire including both classical and popular pieces. The band meets every Tuesday at Eversley School and is led by a professional conductor. The resident population of Basingstoke was 91,294, according to the 2001 UK census.


Most local bus services are operated by the main bus operator Buses Go Anywhere. A circle bus route operates in the town centre, enabling people without cars to get around the town centre with ease. For longer distance journeys, Stagecoach Group's South Central service 186 goes to Winchester via Aldershot, and its 169 service runs from Basingstoke to Southampton via Newbury; both services are operated by low-floor buses. The long distance National Express coach services stop at Basingstoke (at the Top of Town close to Basingstoke Town Hall) heading towards London (Victoria Coach Station), Oxfordshire and Heathrow Airport.

National Express also operate two overnight coach services each night from Basingstoke to Glasgow via Birmingham. Basingstoke railway station is also the nearest National Rail station to large stores such as Ikea, B&Q and Next. The town has a total of nine railway stations within its local authority area: Eastrop, Kempshott, North Baddesley, Overton, South Ham, South Holmwood, Tadley, Winklebury and the main line station at Basingstoke. There are trains from these stations to Alton in Hampshire, which further connect to Alresford and Winchester; Ascot; Bracknell Thames Valley; Brockenhurst; Camberley; Chertsey; Didcot Parkway; Eastleigh; Farnborough North Hampshire and Kings Worthy (where passengers can connect with services.

A Basingstoke 'Direct'on the North Western main line from London Euston diverges here to avoid conflicting routes with the line to Southampton and Portsmouth. East of the station is a triangular junction connecting to Farnborough, Lee-on-the-Solent via Botley, Aldershot and Guildford. This is heavily used by freight, particularly containers from the port of Southampton. To get to the city centre from Basingstoke railway station, use the pedestrian subway under the road, and exit at or near the shopping areas of (listed from west to east) The Masons Arms, The Square, Basing View, Mandela Way, Middle Street or Oteley Road.

There is also a second entrance to Basingstoke station which can be accessed from Silchester Drive. Regional rail services are provided by South Western Railway for the main line (with a few peak hour services being run by CrossCountry) and Southern (with all other services on the West of England line now operated by Southern). These services are mostly commuter / outer-suburban services, although there is also a limited service to Brighton. ;. In the 1991 census, the borough had a population of 119,855, increasing to 181,405 in the 2011 census.


There is a town-wide bus service, operated by the Stagecoach Group through their Stagecoach in Hampshire sub-division. Basingstoke Community Transport and Communities First Wessex run some smaller routes. Hastings Coaches of Alton operates one service to Salisbury. The borough's local commercial station, Basingstoke railway station, is served by South Western Railway from London and Brighton, plus Chiltern Railways servicing Birmingham via Leamington Spa, Oxford and Banbury. A new interchange has been created between the railway and bus stations with the redevelopment of Basingstoke railway station.

The railway provides links to other towns in the UK including Reading, Portsmouth, Southampton, London. There is a railway station just outside the town centre on the North Downs Line (formerly the Great Western Railway), with services to Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton on the South West Main Line. This is now operated by South Western Railway which provides two trains per hour in each direction. The journey to London Waterloo takes one hour and twenty minutes.

It has been proposed that Basingstoke could be served by High Speed 2, the new high-speed railway line from London to Birmingham, via the Channel Tunnel to France. Basingstoke bus station is located in the town centre, and lies on the main thoroughfare into the town, running parallel to Basing Street. The main entrance is off Caxton Street, but there are also entrances onto Hampshire Street and Queensgate. It can be accessed by both bus services and pedestrians, though some route 50 services do not stop at certain times of night.


British Cycling surveyed 9,000 cyclists in 1997 and the results revealed that the requirements of on-road cyclists were very different from those of off-road leisure cyclists. Their 1997 report was titled Catering for the Majority and highlighted specific requirements for on-road cycling including cycle lanes or tracks and cyclist-specific traffic lights.  This represented a shift in position by British Cycling from their original remit of cycle tour provision. The current provision in the town centre is inadequate and can lead to confusion in which interactions between different road users are prescribed unclearly.

The new cycling infrastructure is likely to change these relationships and expectations. It is not possible to combine the designs for cycling with those for the park and ride scheme without some form of segregation, either by vehicle type, by time of day, or both. Following the Transport Act 1985, the first cycle lane in Dublin was painted on Clonliffe Road in 1987. Since the late 1980s increasing priority has been given to cyclists, but it is only more recently with the provision of dedicated cycle tracks such as those along Grand Canal Dock that cyclists have achieved meaningful separation from other traffic for their journeys through the city centre.

Basingstoke Canal

The canal from Festival Place to the Basingstoke Canal Basin was built in 1801, although in order for it to be completed a further Act of Parliament was required. The original locks that were installed proved inadequate for the larger narrowboats that were adopted on the canal. This led to a second set of locks being built later, when the canal was extended to Clamp Mill Basin. These drew water from a point about 600 yards (550 m) above the first set of locks, and proved more suitable.