Vince Cable and the Eastleigh weapons of mass deception – some questions for the Lib Dem leader

ADD UPDATE, 14 February 2018: Although ADD is fiercely politically neutral, it reserves the right to speak out when a politician of any persuasion talks complete nonsense about local issues.

On a visit to Eastleigh last week, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable made some outrageously misleading comments about the council’s plans to submerge the villages of Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Allbrook and wreak havoc on the natural environment.

Cable is an honourable man, but we do not imagine that he has had time to study the borough’s Local Plan and the evidence (or lack of) to support it. We can safely assume that, when he spoke to the Daily Echo, he was repeating in good faith what he had been told by party colleagues in Eastleigh. In other words, he had been sold a pup.

So, let’s look at what he told the Echo about the Local Plan: “The basic strategy is to build ambitious housing developments combined with a good environmental policy. My understanding is that they [the council] are trying to create garden villages to protect the green land between Eastleigh and Southampton.

“The basic point is that this is an area that is desperate for new houses and there must be a substantial increase in supply. It has to be done in a green, sensitive manner. This is what I judge the council here are doing.”

Cable backed up these quotes with a tweet, no doubt written by someone else, that said “Now big #housing push within #greeninfrastructure meeting local need”.

So, on behalf of tens of thousands of local people, represented by seven parish councils, here are some of the questions we have for the Lib Dem leader:

1) He says there is a desperate need for new houses, but he is aware that the council is planning to build nearly two thousand more than are actually required, and does he approve of this?

2) Is he aware that the “green and sensitive” development he refers to will destroy over 800 acres of prime countryside, which his own council’s research has identified as being by far the most environmentally sensitive in the borough, leading Chris Packham to brand the plans as “eco-vandalism”?

3) What does he say to the Woodland Trust who have warned that the plans would cause serious and permanent damage to seven areas of ancient woodland?

4) What does he say to the Angling Trust who are up in arms about the extensive damage the plans would cause the River Itchen at a spot so sensitive that it is protected at a European level?

5) How will the new houses help local people when they are going to be way beyond the reach of first-time or even most second-time buyers, and far from public transport?

6) Where are the plans for garden villages? They certainly have not been made public. And what does he say to people living in Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Allbrook, who would see their villages disappear into a mass of urban sprawl?

7) His party is committed to promoting public transport. Is he aware that Eastleigh Borough Council has refused to seriously consider the alternative area for providing the additional housing the borough needs – an area which is not only less environmentally sensitive but also nearer to existing infrastructure and, indeed, could be served by a new railway station? The only new infrastructure that the council is planning – a new link road – has been condemned by the Campaign for Better Transport and strongly criticised by Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council.

8) Finally, has he spoken to the five former Eastleigh Lib Dem councillors who have resigned from the group in protest over the plans – and to party colleagues from Winchester who also strongly oppose them?

We have many more questions, but we know Sir Vince is a busy man. We shall send these eight questions to his office requesting a response, and post any reply that we may receive.


Lib Dem leader Vince Cable backs plans for 5,200 houses in Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, ignores locals

Daily Echo, 9 February 2018: THE leader of the Libs Dems has waded into the row over controversial plans to build 5,200 new homes on land near ancient woodland. The scheme, for land between Fair Oak and Bishopstoke, sparked  protest among residents and even led to several Lib Dem councillors quitting the party. But on a visit to Eastleigh yesterday, Mr Cable backed the council’s stance, arguing that the homes were badly needed. Mr Cable said: “The basic strategy the council has adopted seems to be right, which is to build ambitious housing developments combined with a good environmental policy.” He added new developments have “to be done in a green, sensitive manner [and] this is what I judge the council are doing.”


To everyone in Bishopstoke and Fair Oak… please read this message from fellow residents

6 February 2018: In an open letter responding to recent leaflets from Eastleigh council’s leadership, headed by Keith House (above), residents of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak are urging locals not to believe what the council is saying about its Local Plan. Headed ‘Re-Focus’, the residents’ letter urges people to wake up to the council’s lies about its plans for 5,200 new houses and a link road in their two villages. To read the letter, see below. Please spread the word by forwarding this link or – if necessary – printing this article and distributing. The government will have to approve the council’s Local Plan later this year. Residents believe it is vital everyone knows the truth before it is too late. They urge people “to stop being hood-winked now!”


Dear fellow Bishopstoke and Fair Oak residents,


If the answer is ‘no’, read on

As you may know, Eastleigh Borough Council plans to submerge Bishopstoke and Fair Oak in a sprawl of 5,200 new homes – a scheme dreamt up by developers without any attempt to consult local residents. Council leader Keith House is so keen to get into bed with them that he is prepared to build nearly 2,000 more homes between now and 2036 than the council is required to provide. He says it is good to be a YIMBY (‘Yes, In My Back Yard’).

Backers of this scheme – known as options B and C of the Eastleigh’s Local Plan – say it can all be done whilst maintaining the quality of life and the identity of our communities. Who do they think they are kidding?  

Bishopstoke and Fair Oak would entirely disappear as independent villages, losing all the strategic gaps that protect them. There would be huge damage to countryside that, according to the council’s own research, is by far the most environmentally sensitive in the borough. And it would create congestion locally of nightmare proportions, adding an estimated 26,000 traffic movements daily.

To alleviate the traffic, they propose to build the North Bishopstoke Link Road to the M3.  This would permanently damage five stretches of ancient woodland, the wildlife it supports and other much valued local amenities, pollute the River Itchen with terrible consequences for rare aquatic life, degrade parts of the South Downs National Park and destroy the village of Allbrook. No wonder Chris Packham calls it “eco-vandalism”.

And yet, with the plan due to go to the government’s planning inspector later this year, the council has produced no evidence at all that the road would actually improve traffic congestion. We think it would probably make matters worse.  

Action against Destructive Development (ADD), the local group vehemently fighting the council’s proposals, knows that all this is completely avoidable.  The council has refused to give serious consideration to other much more suitable locations that would minimise coalescence between centres. For example, it has recently turned down an application to build housing on former industrial land in Hamble – even though local authorities are being encouraged to develop ‘brownfield’ sites.

Meanwhile the council’s ‘consultation’ has been shown to be a sham. Thanks to persistent probing by ADD, we know that its ‘Master Plan’ was in place as far back as July 2015 – long before it was made public. When ADD arranged a meeting in 2016 for residents to air their views, the response of one local councillor was to try to stop it taking place on public order grounds. They would really much rather not hear what we have to say.

Having lost the argument, the council’s leadership has resorted to a campaign of ‘fake news’. We hope you will have time to read the information below putting the record straight. It’s time to RE-FOCUS.


On December 11, 2017 Eastleigh Borough Council agreed provisionally to adopt options B and C of the Local Plan. The decision was taken despite huge gaps in the evidence base, including traffic, flooding and environmental impact assessments. The final say rests with the council’s chief executive. In other words, the most important decision about Eastleigh for a generation will be taken behind closed doors by an unelected officer without any democratic scrutiny.

To justify this affront to open government, the council’s leadership has pursued a campaign of misinformation that would make even President Putin blush. 


Myth one.  The Local Plan would relieve traffic congestion.

Building 5,200 new homes would add an estimated 26,000 daily traffic movements. The homes would be built away from public transport links, urban centres and other places where people want to be, so maximising vehicle use. There is no evidence that the promised new road would help. It would probably make matters worse.

Myth two. The local plan would provide homes for local families.

Papers submitted by the developers show that the new properties would sell for upwards of £400,000 – no use whatsoever to young people trying to get started. The promised affordable housing is just window-dressing. It is common practice for developers to promise affordable housing and, once planning permission is received, to go back on their word. It will not happen.

Myth three.  A new railway station at Allington and an extra Junction 6 on the M27 cannot happen because Network Rail and Highways England have ruled them out.

This is simply not true. Both organisations have said they would consider such schemes if the local authority came to them. However, Eastleigh Borough Council have shown no interest in doing so.

Myth four. There are no other possible sites within Eastleigh for the housing.

There are several potential sites, especially if we stick to the 3,350 new homes required by the government rather than the 5,200 in the local plan. Every single one of them would involve much less environmental damage than options B and C. The council has chosen not to give them serious consideration. 

Myth five. Recent modifications to the plan mean the ancient woodland is safe.

The Woodland Trust has categorically denied this claim, made by Councillor House.

Myth six. All options are equally unpopular with local residents

Options B and C received far more objections than the others. Including the road, option B (Bishopstoke/Allbrook) received more than the other nine combined.

The government will be asked to approve the council’s Local Plan later this year. We therefore believe it is important that everyone knows the truth before it is too late. Stop being hood-winked. Re-Focus now!

Thank you.



SAVE countryside between Eastleigh and Winchester from MASS development – sign this petition NOW!

ADD UPDATE: 1 February 2018: On 11 December 2017, Eastleigh Borough Councillors approved a draft Local Plan that includes the development of 5,200 new houses north of Fair Oak and Bishopstoke and a new road running from Fair Oak in the east to Allbrook and the M3 in the west (so-called options B and C). In front of 800 aghast members of the public (and many hundreds more following on social media), they forced through a plan which – if completed – would needlessly DESTROY hundreds of acres of ancient Hampshire countryside between Eastleigh and Winchester. This shocking plan lacks critical evidence and ignores far better alternatives. To help stop this plan, sign this petition to SAVE South Hampshire’s glorious countryside NOW! Please share too!


Eastleigh’s Local Plan: How each councillor voted – for, against, abstain, not there!

ADD UPDATE, 19 January 2018: On 11 December 2017, Eastleigh Borough Councillors approved a draft Local Plan that includes the development of 5,200 new houses north of Fair Oak and Bishopstoke and a new road running from Mortimers Lane, Fair Oak in the east to Highbridge Road, Allbrook and the M3 in the west. To read more about the meeting click here.

Below is how each councillor voted:

Bishopstoke Councillors:
Trevor Mignot, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Victoria Parkinson, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Angela Roling, Liberal Democrat, left the meeting before the vote
Anne Winstanley, Liberal Democrat, FOR

Fair Oak and Horton Heath Councillors:
Nick Couldrey, Liberal Democrat, absent as he has declared a pecuniary interest in option B
Rob Rushton, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Des Scott, Liberal Democrat, Abstained

Eastleigh North Councillors:
Sarah Bain, Independent Liberal Democrat, AGAINST
Maureen Sollitt, Independent Liberal Democrat, AGAINST
Chris Thomas, Independent Liberal Democrat, left the meeting before the vote

Eastleigh Central Councillors:
Mark Balaam, Independent Liberal Democrat, AGAINST
Tina Campbell, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Wayne Irish, Liberal Democrat, FOR

Eastleigh South Councillors:
Darshan Mann, Liberal Democrat, Absent
Paul Bicknell, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Steve Sollitt, Independent Liberal Democrat, AGAINST

Botley Councillors:
Rupert Kyrle, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Angel Myerscough, Liberal Democrat, FOR

Bursledon and Old Netley Councillors:
Tonia Craig, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Steve Holes, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Jane Rich, Liberal Democrat, Absent

Chandlers Ford Councillors:
Alan Broadhurst, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Haulwen Broadhurst, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Pamela Holden-Brown, Liberal Democrat, FOR
David Pragnell, Liberal Democrat, FOR

Hamble-le-Rice and Butlocks Heath Councillors:
Malcolm Cross, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Elizabeth Lear, Conservative, AGAINST

Hedge End Councillors:
Margaret Allingham, Liberal Democrat, Absent
Ian Corben, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Cynthia Garton, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Clifford Morris, Liberal Democrat, Absent as he has declared a pecuniary interest in option B
Jerry Hall, Conservative, AGAINST
Keith House, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Derek Pretty, Liberal Democrat, FOR

Hiltingbury Councillors:
Margaret Atkinson, Conservative, AGAINST
Judith Grajewski, Conservative, AGAINST
Daniel Hatfield, Conservative, Absent
Michael Hughes, Conservative, AGAINST

Netley Abbey Councillors:
David Airey, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Lizette Van Niekerk, Liberal Democrat, FOR

West End Councillors:
Janice Asman, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Carol Boulton, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Daniel Clarke, Liberal Democrat, FOR
Bruce Tennent, Liberal Democrat, Absent

You can read the council’s minutes of the meeting here.



Words for the Wild – a wonderful new initiative in support of ADD. Take a look!

ADD UPDATE: 18 January 2018: We write with wonderful news of an initiative by local writers Amanda Oosthuizen and Louise Taylor who have launched a website to compile stories and poems about the countryside. What’s more, their website, Words for the Wild, will form the basis of an anthology that they will publish in support of the ADD campaign against Eastleigh Borough Council’s shocking Local Plan. To visit Words for the Wild, click here.

Amanda Oosthuizen explains:

“Words for the Wild publishes stories and poems that refer to the countryside. At the moment, work can be read on the website, with plenty more to come, and we will publish a book in the spring. People have all sorts of countryside concerns and interests, and we will publish a variety of writing – joyful, mysterious, funny and also work by writers who are as horrified by its destruction as we are. 

“We are thrilled and proud that so many writers have given us their support. The profits from book sales will go to ADD, and we’ll be promoting the venture, and the ADD campaign, at literary events.”

There are already poems and stories to read on this fabulous website – do take a look. And if you have writing you would like to contribute to this exciting project, the criteria are explained on the site.

Thank you Amanda and Louise! We greatly look forward to your book launch!


Letter to Daily Telegraph: Wrong kind of Yimby wants 2,000 more houses

ADD UPDATE, 9 January 2018: In response to Isabelle Fraser’s article in the Daily Telegraph on 3 January, entitled “Meet the ‘Yimbys’ arguing for more homes to be built in their area”, the letter below was published in the paper this morning. Thanks to everyone’s support over the weekend, it was co-signed by Mark Lloyd, CEO of The Angling Trust; Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport; and Dees Haas, Chairman of Campaign to Protect Rural England Hampshire, plus 252 others. To view an image of the letter, see above, click here or view the Daily Telegraph’s letters page. We continue to work hard to defeat Eastleigh’s proposed Local Plan. If we stick together, we remain confident that we can do so. Eastleigh deserves better.


Sir – It is true that Eastleigh borough council in Hampshire, led by Keith House, recently voted to pursue a Local Plan that involves building nearly 2,000 more houses than the Government requires (“Meet the ‘Yimbys’ arguing for more homes to be built in their area”, Business, January 3).

However, Mr House gives the wrong impression by saying that the decision was taken “to foster growth rather than manage decline” in line with emerging Yimby (‘Yes In My Backyard’) thinking.

Yimby groups espouse housing infill close to transportation. Mr House’s plan sits on the very edge of his borough in ancient Hampshire countryside, miles from Eastleigh’s town centre and existing infrastructure.

Indeed, Mr House’s plan isn’t even in his backyard. It’s in adjacent Winchester city council’s backyard. The reason Mr House wants the extra 2,000 houses is because they enable the developer to pay for a costly new road that is central to the scheme (though it has no proven wider benefits). House has doggedly pursued this plan, repeatedly rejecting expert transport, planning and environmental advice.

Even now the plan lacks critical evidence to support its deliverability, sustainability and affordability. Mr House and his fellow councillors have gambled that the Government’s planning inspector will be blind to these glaring gaps.

It’s not too late for Mr House and his fellow councillors to change their minds.

A more credible alternative proposal, once supported by them, waits in the wings. The irony is that this proposal fits far more neatly with Yimby ideals.  

Mark Lloyd
CEO, The Angling Trust

Stephen Joseph
Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport

Dee Haas
Chairman, Campaign To Protect Rural England, Hampshire

and 252 others; see





Important: to co-sign letter to Telegraph, ‘like’ COMMENT – NOT POST – on our Facebook page

ADD UPDATE, 7 January 2018: Important: to give your consent to be a co-signatory to one of our supporter’s letter to the Daily Telegraph, please ‘like’ THE COMMENT (on our Facebook page – see screenshot above), NOT THE POST ITSELF. As many of you know, one of our supporters has written a letter to the Telegraph following Wednesday’s article about Keith House, Eastleigh’s Local Plan and Yimbyism. We posted this letter as a comment on our Facebook page on Friday evening and are collating as many co-signatories as possible before sending it to the paper tomorrow morning (Monday). Together with email agreements, we are gathering an excellent number. Of course, the Telegraph may not want to publish our letter, but we can try. Thank you to everybody for your continuing support. Together, we can win this fight!




Eastleigh Leader Keith House identified as a YIMBY in shock Telegraph article 

ADD UPDATE, 5 January 2017: On 11 December, Eastleigh council leader Keith House (above) and his fellow Liberal Democrat councillors ignored the expertise and common sense of thousands and voted to pursue a Local Plan that lacks critical evidence to support its deliverability, sustainability and affordability.

In front of 800 aghast members of the public (and many hundreds more following on social media), they forced through so-called options B and C of their Plan which – if completed – would deliver 5,200 new houses, well in excess of the 3,350 needed to meet the borough’s housing target in the period to 2036. 

No one seems to be able to understand House’s intransigence on this issue. Can it be that his Plan is politically motivated? We believe he is set on options B and C because they deliver the balance of all housing needed in Eastleigh for the next 20-plus years in the relatively less populated north of the borough, adjacent to neighbouring Winchester. Building on this countryside, far from Eastleigh’s town centre and existing transport infrastructure, might be electorally advantageous for his majority-controlling group, especially ahead of ‘all-out’ elections in May. House has led the council for a remarkable 24 years and is clearly desperate to stay in power.

House has gambled that the government’s planning inspector, who will have to scrutinise his Plan, will be blind to the many glaring gaps in evidence, including in particular transport and biodiversity, that thousands of others can see so clearly. Amongst those sounding the alarm are Hampshire County Council (the Highways Authority), Winchester City Council (through whose land a proposed new road to serve the new houses would run), the three local MPs, seven local parish councils, the Campaign for Better Transport, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Angling Trust, the Test and Itchen Association, Chris Packham, the conservationist who grew up in the area, the list goes on… and on. You simply could not make it up, particularly given House has on his desk a very credible alternative plan that he once supported but now chooses to ignore.

House had tried to bury the fact that his Plan includes nearly 2,000 more houses than mandated by the government. However, at the meeting on 11 December, he was forced to explain, clearly under pressure, that this was because the “government might change its mind on housing numbers” and that he needed “a buffer”. Of course, everyone knows that the real reason he needs these extra houses is that, without them, the developer would be unable to meet the cost of the proposed new road, which he has made central to his Plan but has – to date – no proven wider benefit. Indeed, after 18 months of work, Eastleigh council is still unable to offer any evidence that the road will provide relief for traffic in the surrounding communities.

Having regrouped over Christmas, House has now had the gall to tell Isabelle Fraser of the Daily Telegraph, in an article published two days ago (click here; you may need to register, but it’s quick and free), that the decision to build 2,000 extra houses was taken “to foster growth rather than manage decline”. Isabelle Fraser describes what he proposes to do as Yimby-ism (‘Yes In My Back Yard’).

Rather clumsily, House also let slip to Fraser that key benefits of the scheme will be more jobs and council tax revenue. Could more council tax revenue really be emerging as a key justification for House’s destruction of the finest remaining countryside in the borough?

Last month, House and his fellow councillors took a massive decision that will impact Eastleigh and its neighbouring communities for generations to come. Nowhere in its public consultation exercise, which was predictably a sham, was there a question about whether the public agrees that the council should ‘seek to build 2,000 more houses than the government requires in order to provide more jobs and council tax revenue’. Nor was there any reference to this Yimby ‘policy’ in the council papers before the meeting. How did House suddenly reach this conclusion? What further surprise arguments, without any evidence base, are yet to emerge?



Ray Bellinger’s Local Plan Song – now just 99p on leading digital music platforms. All proceeds go to ADD!

ADD UPDATE, 16 December 2017: OUT NOW!! Only 99p – Ray Bellinger’s Local Plan Song (Save our Countryside). Available on Google Play, iTunes, Spotify and other leading digital music platforms. Thanks to Ray, all proceeds will go to the ADD campaign fund. Technical note: If you have an android phone, Google Play is preloaded. If you have an iPhone, iTunes will be preloaded. To buy on iTunes, click here. PLEASE BUY, ENJOY AND HELP SAVE OUR COUNTRYSIDE… AND SHARE SHARE SHARE. Thank you!