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Eastleigh’s Local Plan – we can definitely win this battle

ADD UPDATE, 11 August 2018 – A message to all supporters now the pre-submission consultation period is over:

A big ‘thank you’ to the hundreds of residents who’ve shown their support for ADD during this crucial time – especially those who’ve registered objections to the Local Plan during the recent consultation period and contributed to our fighting fund.

We know that many supporters found the Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) website incredibly frustrating, with an estimated 500 people unable to log their comments at one stage. We really appreciate the patience and perseverance of all those who persisted until they were successful.

Links to ADD’s response to the consultation, which like everyone else’s will be sent to the planning inspector, are below. You’ll see that it’s wide-ranging and extensive, and draws on the evidence of an impressive array of consultants and other experts, all pulled together by our planning consultant and planning barrister.

It has been incredibly hard work, much of it carried out by unpaid volunteers. However, it has left us even more convinced that there are big gaps, inaccuracies and contradictions in EBC’s evidence base, as well as serious flaws in their processes.

We can demonstrate there are better, less destructive ways to meet Eastleigh’s housing targets. The current Local Plan will do virtually nothing to help local people find homes. It will, though, mean handsome profits for the developers – £250 million according to an EBC study.

In short, we are buoyed by the tremendous and growing level of local support and the strength of our case – and the realisation that we can win this battle.

Our main focus now is on the planning inquiry itself, likely to be next summer. The progress we have made so far has been possible only thanks to the generosity of the public. Without your donations we could never have engaged the professional support that has been so essential to our work. The studies they have produced are below; you’ll see they are of the highest quality.

We still need approximately £35,000 to reach our target of £100,000, so please, please continue to help us financially if you possibly can. It will enable us to continue to employ the legal, planning, transport and environmental expertise necessary to present our arguments in the most effective way possible. To donate, click here.

We know it’s a lot to ask, but it’s a small sacrifice to make for the future environment and quality of life of this very special part of Hampshire.

Thank you all, once again.

The team at ADD

ADD’s representation, August 2018

  1. Main report (response to question 4 for policies S5 and S6)
  2. Appendix 1 – Aquascience report (River Itchen SAC)
  3. Appendix 2 – Phlorum report (ecology)
  4. Appendix 3 – DTA report (transport)
  5. Appendix 4 – Terra Firm report (landscape)
  6. Appendix 5 – Hereward Phillpot QC – opinion, July 2017
  7. Appendix 6 – Hereward Phillpot QC – opinion, December 2017
  8. Appendix 7 – Report and Masterplan for Allington Lane
  9. Appendix 8 – Email from Professor Rob Wilby, Loughborough University (flood management)
  10. Response to S5 and S6 (b)
  11. Response to S4 and S5 – Employment
  12. Response to S2 and S3 – Housing
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Worried about Eastleigh’s Local Plan website crashing? Council CEO says get in touch..

ADD UPDATE, 7 August 2018: Further to last night’s decision by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) to extend its Local Plan consultation to midnight tomorrow, 8 August, ADD’s chairman, John Lauwerys (above), had the email exchange below with EBC’s CEO Nick Tustian today. The bottom line is that if, like many people, you’ve been unable to submit your views because of system ‘errors’, and you’re concerned your views will not be registered, you should contact Mr Tustian immediately (see details below).

Email from John Lauwerys to Nick Tustian, 7 August 2018, 09:15
Subject: EBC draft local plan Reg.19 consultation

Dear Mr Tustian,

I rang your office yesterday to speak to you about the ‘crash’ of the EBC Local Plan consultation website, which is of great concern. Extending the consultation deadline by two days will give the large number of people still trying to make their representations more time to do so but it doesn’t ensure that your system’s failure will not have had a negative effect on the consultation process.

The main concern that ADD has is that some of those submitting a response to the consultation will have been prevented from completing their response half way through and have lost what they had completed thus far. We fear some will simply have given up in frustration and that accordingly their representation will be permanently lost. You referred in your note to councillors (which it would be courteous for you to post on the Council’s website to inform the wider public) to problems emerging on Sunday afternoon. We have had many reports of problems running through Saturday, Sunday and Monday 6 August – the original closing date for the consultation.

I would be glad on behalf of ADD to receive your assurance that the failure in your website system will not have resulted in any submission – which was in the process of being made – being permanently lost. If there is this possibility it seems essential that you urgently ensure a statement of that possibility is made public so that anyone so affected can quickly make another representation.

Yours sincerely,

John Lauwerys
On behalf of the ADD committee

Reply from Nick Tustian to John Lauwerys, 7 August 2018, 14:31
Subject: RE: EBC draft local plan Reg.19 consultation

Dear Mr Lauwerys,

The system we are using to record consultation responses is designed specifically to cope with large scale consultation events such as this and we have been working with the software company to try and understand why there have been problems over the weekend. Certainly at the moment the system seems to be working well and hopefully the extra 48 hours will enable anyone who experienced problems at the weekend to submit their response.

In respect of those who have attempted to submit but got an error message, their responses will be in the system as by this stage they will have completed all of the mandatory fields that would enable us to identify it. However, if anyone has concerns they should email us and we can check the system to ensure it has been received.

Yours sincerely

Nick Tustian
Chief Executive – Management Team
Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, SO50 9YN

Email:
[email protected]
[email protected]

Tel: 023 8068 8205 Ext: 8136

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Eastleigh’s online form for Local Plan representations crashes – consultation extended

ADD UPDATE, 6 August 2018: Eastleigh Borough Council’s online form for Local Plan representations has crashed, perhaps because of the deluge of objectors! The council has therefore extended its consultation deadline from midnight tonight to midnight on Wednesday, 8 August. To view the council’s announcement, click here.

If, like many people, you have tried and failed to submit your representation, don’t give up – try again tomorrow. Alternatively, if you have not had time to submit a representation, please use this extra time to do so. Here’s how.

If you have had problems with the online form, either with submitting your representation, saving your draft or uploading documents/images (or something else), please email us so we can understand the scale of the problem.

Thanks to everyone for your incredible support! Together, we can win this fight!

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REMINDER: advice on objecting to Eastleigh’s Local Plan – four days to go!

ADD REMINDER, 2 August 2018: ONLY FOUR DAYS TO GO UNTIL EASTLEIGH’S LOCAL PLAN CONSULTATION ENDS (AT MIDNIGHT ON 6 AUGUST). HERE IS A REMINDER OF WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE YOUR VIEWS HEARD. WE NEED EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE. PLEASE SET ASIDE TIME TO DO SO.

You’ll recall that after we posted our initial guidance on submitting representations, two things happened. Firstly, several people told us the whole process was too complicated. Secondly, Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) listened to our criticisms about their online form and made several important improvements. As a result, while our template [blank; with sample responseremains a valid way of submitting a representation, EBC’s form may now be the easier option.

While EBC’s online form may still look mind bogglingly complicated, it is actually a lot simpler and quicker than it looks. A few vital tips:

  1. You do not have to answer all or even many of the questions. The main thing is that you are seen to make clear you think the Plan is unsound. It is ADD’s job to provide a detailed critique – and we are employing consultants to help us do so.
  2. You only need complete the first two sections – i) About you (your details) and ii) Overall assessment of the Local Plan – though we encourage those who so wish to complete other sections.
  3. Answering section two (Overall assessment of the Local Plan): When providing an overall assessment, we suggest you answer the legal compliance question by saying you are unsure. ADD is currently taking advice on this question. Our main argument is about its soundness. If you wish to object then you have to answer ‘no’ to the question:  “Do you consider the Local Plan to be sound?
  4. You will then be asked to make comments about the soundness. It is essential to begin your answer “I/we believe the Local Plan to be unsound because …”. If you fail to use these words your submission is likely to be ignored.
  5. All the other sections are optional. If you complete any of them, please always start: “I/we believe this policy to be unsound because …” This should ensure your views are considered.
  6. Finally, make sure that your objection has been sent – job done!

Some of points you might like to make in answering section two:

Answering section two. Your comments can be brief. Below are some of our main objections. There’s no need to list them all, and feel free to add your own.

a) We believe the plan was predetermined. Emails that the council was forced to make public suggest that the leadership was already deciding the Local Plan in detail months before the public consultation.

b) The council then ignored the results of its own public (Issues and Options) consultation in December 2015, which showed that options B and C were by far the least popular. In fact, option B (including the new road) had more objections than the other nine options combined.

c) The council has made no serious attempt to consider the suitability of other options. In their comparison of options B/ C and D/E it uses the phrase “it is considered that” no less than 61 times.  This is no substitute for hard fact.

d) It voted to proceed with the plan on 11 December 2017 when nearly 40% of the evidence was still missing including the vital environmental impact and traffic reports.

e) It failed to provide prior consultation to bodies it was required to advise such as Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency, making the consultation process less well informed.

f) Much of the council’s evidence is incomplete and vague (e.g. traffic impact assessment) and poorly costed (e.g. the proposed new link road).

g) The council appears to have ignored or even contradicted its own evidence in places (e.g. impact on the River Itchen Special Area of Conservation).

Other sections. You may be asked whether your comments apply to the bold text or to the rest of the text or both. Unless you have a lot of time, we suggest you stick to the bold text. As already stated, your main aim should be to register an objection to the soundness of the Plan. ADD will provide the detail.

Many people will want to answer section five – about Fair Oak and Bishopstoke, which would lose their identities, suffer horrendous levels of traffic congestion and see local amenities such as ancient woodland permanently and seriously degraded, according to the Woodland Trust among others.

Arguments should relate to good planning – for example, damage to ancient woodland and the River Itchen, damage to the landscape, the fact that the council has not modelled the traffic impact on the national park or adequately considered the Allbrook rail bridge and how the siting of the development would add unnecessarily to car use. Simply stating that you do not like something will not wash.

Again, having said you ‘oppose’ a policy, start your comments with “I/we believe the policy to be unsound because…”

For ideas for completing sections two and five of EBC’s online form, please click here – though DO REMEMBER TO USE YOUR OWN WORDS. If you use any of these examples verbatim, it will not count as a separate representation.

Please also be aware that EBC will likely want to use its form to demonstrate there is broad support for many of its policies – hence why it asks respondents to state whether they support/oppose its policies. This is not relevant to the planning inspector. What’s relevant is whether the Plan is sound or not.

Good luck! Any questions, please contact us via [email protected].

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Words for the Wild anthology in aid of ADD – now available

ADD UPDATE, 1 August 2018: You may recall that in January local writers Amanda Oosthuizen and Louise Taylor launched a website – Words for the Wild – to compile stories and poems about the countryside. What’s more, they kindly suggested their website should form the basis of an anthology which they would publish in support of the ADD campaign. Since January, Words for the Wild has published pieces by over 100 writers from four continents. Some are established and well-known, others are relative newcomers but all are united by their concern for the dwindling wild spaces and places of our world.

As they promised, Amanda and Louise have now launched Words for the Wild’s first print anthology, with all profits going to ADD’s fighting fund. Priced at £8, the anthology is available through Words for the Wild’s online shop and from P&G Wells bookstore in Winchester.

Many of you have already donated generously to the ADD campaign, and we hope many others of you will do so too (here’s how). Buying a copy of Words for the Wild’s anthology is a practical additional way of supporting our goal of quashing Eastleigh Borough Council’s ill-conceived Local Plan – whilst also offering you an immersive escape into dozens of different landscapes.

Praise for the Words for the Wild anthology:

“…in this anthology, a range of terrific writers from all over the world are raising their voices to protect the environment for future generations…” – Alison MacLeod

“…an exquisite walk on the wild side…and the perfect gift for any wildlife enthusiast. A reminder not to take our natural treasures for granted.” – Rosie Johnston

Thank you Amanda and Louise! Please buy your copy of their anthology now.

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Threat to River Itchen means Eastleigh’s Local Plan should be “knocked on the head”

ADD UPDATE, 30 July 2018: One of our key supporters – an expert angler – has produced a great video showing the threat to the River Itchen from sediment run-off. The area he visited is a development of 60 houses in Bishopstoke, the Chase, and his video gives a very clear idea of what might happen if plans for 1,000 extra houses adjacent to the Chase, and 4,300 other houses north of Fair Oak (Eastleigh council’s so-called ‘options B and C’ of its Local Plan), were allowed to go ahead.

The potential irreparable damage to ‘probably the most iconic chalk stream in the world’, as it was described in a World Wildlife fund report, must not be allowed to happen – and we continue to do everything we can to stop it.

As our supporter says at the end of his video: “It is very difficult on a site like this to build 1,000 houses on a slope that goes down to the River Itchen without risk and I would argue that this development should be knocked on the head. There are other sites after all – flat sites – which may be equally close to the River Itchen but they are unlikely to be as damaging.”

See the video below:

 

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Chandler’s Ford Parish Council: extraordinary meeting on Local Plan – 30 July, 7.30pm

To all residents of Chandler’s Ford: your Parish Council will be holding an Extraordinary Meeting on Monday 30 July to discuss Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan. Please attend! The meeting will be held at 7.30pm at the Fryern Pavilion, Greenways. Chandler’s Ford.

The Motion, proposed by Cllr Ricketts, will be: “Having had sight of the Draft Local Plan it is noticeable that Chandler’s Ford (CF) would be subjected to increased traffic congestion and pollution, as the Plan includes a major new link road from the large development [of 5,300 new houses] north of Bishopstoke to Junction 12 of the M3 (CF and Eastleigh). This road is expected to carry 26,000 vehicles a day. The knock-on effect would be much increased queueing on the approaches to the motorway in CF (Winchester Road, Hocombe Road, Hiltingbury Road) and these roads are already experiencing additional traffic pressure from major housebuilding projects in Romsey, funnelling extra vehicles to the M3. Therefore, shouldn’t Chandler’s Ford Parish Council be joining ten other local parish councils in objecting to the Draft Local Plan?”

Public participation: a period will be set aside at the beginning of the meeting for members of the public to ask questions or make statements.

Click here for the formal notice.

Like all similar Local Plan meetings, ADD encourages as many Chandler’s Ford residents as possible to attend.

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Otterbourne villagers unite to fight Eastleigh housing plans

Hampshire Chronicle, 23 July 2018: RESIDENTS in Otterbourne turned out for a packed meeting to voice objections to plans to build 5,200 new homes on the border between Winchester and Eastleigh. Otterbourne Parish Council, which – like NINE other parish councils – opposes the plans, invited John Lauwerys of ADD to give a talk instructing residents of the best way to object. ADD has so far raised £60,000 to hire a team of experts to battle the plans which will see a town the size of three Colden Commons built near ancient woodland between Fair Oak and Bishopstoke. Amongst other things, Mr Lauwerys pointed out the proposed new link road to the M3, via the Allbrook railway bridge, would cause traffic chaos in the area.

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Bishopstoke meeting to discuss response to Eastleigh Local Plan, 7.30pm, Friday 27 July

Message from Bishopstoke Parish Council, 20 July 2018: In order to help formulate Bishopstoke Parish Council’s response to Eastleigh’s Local Plan, the council will be holding a Community Listening Exercise for residents to share their views at 7.30pm on Friday 27 July. Here is a message below from Cllr Sue Toher, chair of the council (pictured above), with the details:

“Bishopstoke Parish Council is holding a Community Listening Exercise on Friday 27 July at Bishopstoke Community Centre. The Centre will be open from 7.00pm and the meeting will start at 7.30pm.

The aim is for the parish council to hear the views of local residents on the current version of the Local Plan, which we hope you have been able to see at the recent borough council drop-in sessions. All the opinions shared will then be used when the parish council meets to decide its own response to the Local Plan.

For anyone who has not yet seen the detail of the Local Plan, a copy is available at the parish office, next to the Memorial Hall on Riverside. The office will be open on Monday and Thursday next week, but other days may be available by appointment.”

Please note that relying on your parish council’s objection to the Plan is not enough. Please submit your own objection too. For an easy guide for how to do this, click here.

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Updated advice on objecting to Eastleigh’s Local Plan – please read

ADD UPDATE, 19 July 2018: Since we posted our guidance on submitting representations on the Local Plan last week, two things have happened. Firstly, several people have told us the whole process remains too complicated. And secondly, Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) have listened to our criticisms about their online form and made several important improvements. As a result, while our template [link] remains a valid way of submitting a representation, EBC’s form may now be the easier option.

While EBC’s online form may still look mind bogglingly complicated, it is actually a lot simpler and quicker than it looks. A few vital tips:

  1. You do not have to answer all or even many of the questions. The main thing is that you are seen to make clear you think the Plan is unsound. It is ADD’s job to provide a detailed critique – and we are employing consultants to help us do so.
  2. You only need complete the first two sections – i) About you (your details) and ii) Overall assessment of the Local Plan – though we encourage those who so wish to complete other sections.
  3. Answering section two (Overall assessment of the Local Plan): When providing an overall assessment, we suggest you answer the legal compliance question by saying you are unsure. ADD is currently taking advice on this question. Our main argument is about its soundness. If you wish to object then you have to answer ‘no’ to the question:  “Do you consider the Local Plan to be sound?
  4. You will then be asked to make comments about the soundness. It is essential to begin your answer “I/we believe the Local Plan to be unsound because …”. If you fail to use these words your submission is likely to be ignored.
  5. All the other sections are optional. If you complete any of them, please always start: “I/we believe this policy to be unsound because …” This should ensure your views are considered.
  6. Finally, make sure that your objection has been sent – job done!

Some of points you might like to make in answering section two:

Answering section two. Your comments can be brief. Below are some of our main objections. There’s no need to list them all, and feel free to add your own.

a) We believe the plan was predetermined. Emails that the council was forced to make public suggest that the leadership was already deciding the Local Plan in detail months before the public consultation.

b) The council then ignored the results of its own public (Issues and Options) consultation in December 2015, which showed that options B and C were by far the least popular. In fact, option B (including the new road) had more objections than the other nine options combined.

c) The council has made no serious attempt to consider the suitability of other options. In their comparison of options B/ C and D/E it uses the phrase “it is considered that” no less than 61 times.  This is no substitute for hard fact.

d) It voted to proceed with the plan on 11 December 2017 when nearly 40% of the evidence was still missing including the vital environmental impact and traffic reports.

e) It failed to provide prior consultation to bodies it was required to advise such as Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency, making the consultation process less well informed.

f) Much of the council’s evidence is incomplete and vague (e.g. traffic impact assessment) and poorly costed (e.g. the proposed new link road).

g) The council appears to have ignored or even contradicted its own evidence in places (e.g. impact on the River Itchen Special Area of Conservation).

Other sections. You may be asked whether your comments apply to the bold text or to the rest of the text or both. Unless you have a lot of time, we suggest you stick to the bold text. As already stated, your main aim should be to register an objection to the soundness of the Plan. ADD will provide the detail.

Many people will want to answer section five – about Fair Oak and Bishopstoke, which would lose their identities, suffer horrendous levels of traffic congestion and see local amenities such as ancient woodland permanently and seriously degraded, according to the Woodland Trust among others.

Arguments should relate to good planning – for example, damage to ancient woodland and the River Itchen, damage to the landscape, the fact that the council has not modelled the traffic impact on the national park or adequately considered the Allbrook rail bridge and how the siting of the development would add unnecessarily to car use. Simply stating that you do not like something will not wash.

Again, having said you ‘oppose’ a policy, start your comments with “I/we believe the policy to be unsound because…”

For ideas for completing sections two and five of EBC’s online form, please click here – though DO REMEMBER TO USE YOUR OWN WORDS. If you use any of these examples verbatim, it will not count as a separate representation.

Please also be aware that EBC will likely want to use its form to demonstrate there is broad support for many of its policies – hence why it asks respondents to state whether they support/oppose its policies. This is not relevant to the planning inspector. What’s relevant is whether the Plan is sound or not.

Good luck! Any questions, please contact us via [email protected].

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