28 September 2009|
Basingstoke is a town in northeast Hampshire, England. It lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is 48 miles (77 km) southwest of London, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Southampton, 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Reading, and 19 miles (31 km) northeast of the county town, Winchester. In 2006 it had an estimated population of 80,477. It is part of the borough of Basingstoke and Deane and part of the parliamentary constituency of Basingstoke. Basingstoke is often nicknamed "Doughnut City" or "Roundabout City" due to the number of roundabouts.
Often mistaken for a new town, Basingstoke is an old market town expanded in the 1960s as part of a tripartite agreement between London County Council, Hampshire County Council and Basingstoke Borough Council. It was developed rapidly, along with Andover and Tadley, to accommodate part of the London 'overspill' as perceived under the Greater London Plan, 1944.
Basingstoke market was mentioned in the Domesday Book and Basingstoke remained a small market town until the 1950s. It still has a regular market, but is now bigger than Hampshire County Council's definition of a market town.
Basingstoke is a prosperous town, with an above-average standard of living and low unemployment. It is an economic centre, and the location of the UK headquarters of Sun Life Financial of Canada, The Automobile Association, Ericsson Mobile Platforms, GAME, Motorola and Sony Professional Solutions (Europe). Other industries include drug manufacture, IT, communications, insurance and electronics.