ADD UPDATE, 15 February 2019: A MESSAGE TO ADD’S SUPPORTERS… together we shall win!
You may have noticed that we have been rather quiet since the end of 2018, but please be assured that ADD is working as hard as ever to defend Eastleigh, its environment and that of neighbouring parishes from the Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s dreadful Local Plan. Most of our efforts have been behind the scenes as we prepare for the Planning Inspector’s examination of the draft Plan, which will determine whether or not we are successful. This will probably take place in the spring or early summer, though the recent decision by the government to appoint a new inspector may delay matters.
We have been very heartened by the continuing messages of support coming in, both from individuals and organisations. It is little exaggeration to say that the leadership of EBC – and the developers and landowners who stand to make huge profits – are entirely isolated in terms of support. We are increasingly confident that we can win because the Plan is demonstrably wrong in principle and probably undeliverable in practice.
That is perhaps why EBC has produced a raft of new evidence – much of it flawed – even after the official deadline for doing so, giving the impression that they are making it up as they go along. Part of our job is to consider these late submissions. We also anticipate that the questions the previous inspector has asked the council will be published soon. We will then have the opportunity to comment on EBC’s responses to those questions.
‘Thank you’ to our generous supporters
We have had a very generous response from local residents to our pleas for more funds. First, a good result from our leaflet drop last November and then a magnificent effort by the village of Upham, which held an auction of promises in January. Our heartfelt thanks to those who have helped us in this way.
Please keep the money coming in if you can afford to do so. The council is spending millions on the inquiry, far more than ADD could ever hope to raise. We have one advantage that it will never have: we are in the right, and we have the evidence to prove it. However, although our volunteers are putting in countless hours of unpaid work, we must also employ a range of specialist consultants as well as lawyers to make our case as effectively as possible.
Why we have to win
Tellingly, the number of new homes that Eastleigh actually needs keeps coming down. There are different ways to work it out but, even on the figures provided by EBC, they are planning nearly 2,000 more than necessary. Recent revisions by the Office for National Statistics of population and household projections suggest the borough does not even need to deliver Options B or C at all! To the extent that Eastleigh does need them, they are homes for the elderly, social housing and starter homes rather than the executive dwellings that the developers want to build.
The only rationale for the current version of the Plan, it seems to us, is that EBC is one of the most indebted local authorities in Britain (net borrowings are anticipated to hit a staggering £455 million by the end of this financial year); it needs the money the extra housing will bring. Understandable perhaps, but no justification for such widespread destruction to the environment, including serious damage to seven areas of ancient woodland and the River Itchen and an unnecessary increase in carbon dioxide levels. Nor the misery of even more traffic chaos and the devastating impact the Plan would have on villages like Bishopstoke, Fair Oak, Allbrook, Owslebury, Upham, Twyford, Otterbourne and Colden Common.
Watch this space…
As the inquiry approaches we will update our supporters – and we will need your continued backing. Thank you again… together we shall win.
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