ADD UPDATE, 2 March 2017: ADD has long argued that Eastleigh Borough Council’s options D and E (around Allington Lane) for its Local Plan provide the best solution to Eastleigh’s housing needs. Anyone reading the report prepared by planning consultant, West Waddy, last December will see just how compelling the arguments are – whether viewed from a planning, financial, human, practical or environmental perspective.
Surprisingly, given the strong desire in certain quarters to push through options B and C (at Allbrook, Fair Oak and Bishopstoke) as quickly as possible, EBC’s own infrastructure report largely agrees with our analysis, describing B and C as the riskier way forward.
So EBC was absolutely right to vote unanimously at its meeting on 15 December to keep all options open until councillors have more information to consider. Was this, we wonder, just a tactical retreat – or is the leadership going into this process with a genuinely open mind?
Whichever options eventually go ahead will require considerable investment in supporting infrastructure. And EBC is certainly going to great lengths to find ways of financing the so-called and misnamed North Bishopstoke bypass, which is deemed necessary for B and C. We understand the council is negotiating a £50 million loan to pay for the road up-front – a bold gesture for an authority as mired in debt as EBC. (This sum almost certainly underestimates the road’s cost, but that is another story.)
So, in a spirit of impartiality, we hope and assume the council is devoting similar energies to finding ways to fund the infrastructure needed to support options D and E, which all the independent experts who have studied the plans agree is the best way forward. The relatively minor modifications to existing roads needed to make D and E viable would certainly cost much less than £50 million. Indeed, there would be enough money left over to fund, in addition, a new railway station at Allington. Now, that really would alleviate traffic congestion in Eastleigh and make it a greener place to live.
We wait with bated breath to learn what EBC is doing to research the infrastructure needs for D and E and the best ways to meet them.
We have invited EBC to comment on this article and will post any response if and when we receive one.