ADD UPDATE, 25 September 2017: Eastleigh Borough Council’s plans to build 5,200 homes and a major new road on green fields in the north of the borough is sparking an increasingly hostile rebellion amongst local Liberal Democrats. Already two Eastleigh Lib Dems have quit and now a leading Lib Dem from across the border with Winchester has joined the fray.
In a strongly worded letter, Richard Izard, a Winchester City Councillor representing nearby Colden Common and Twyford (pictured above), has told every Eastleigh council member that the planned development north of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, its preferred choice for its emerging Local Plan, will be torn to shreds by a government planning inspector.
Amongst a litany of reasons, Izard accuses the council of contravening national planning guidelines for an evidence-based Local Plan, warns that the development could see Eastleigh council fall foul of a new global initiative to keep skies dark and natural, and reveals that a colony of the ultra-rare Barbastelle bat is at risk. The bats like wooded river valleys just like the nearby River Itchen which has international protection. They’re also very sensitive to disturbance and are rated as one of the UK’s rarest mammals.
The schemes have already produced outrage from conservationists such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, the Woodland Trust, the Angling Trust and TV naturalist Chris Packham.
In his letter, Izard also points out that the Eastleigh scheme can only go ahead with co-operation from Winchester City Council which would have to approve a new road through their district. And he warns: “There are no guarantees that planning permission for the section of the road which crosses the Winchester District will be forthcoming.”
Separately, Izard reveals that Eastleigh council, which prides itself on keeping down its taxes, is spending more than £1,000,000 on consultants in its attempt to persuade the planning inspector of the viability of a plan that many believe is simply undeliverable.
As our supporters know, ADD’s central aim is to ensure that Eastleigh council adopts an evidence-based Local Plan. Emphasising that the council’s fact-base is far from he complete, Izard concludes by asking the council to “take ALL the evidence from ALL the optional sites into consideration before making your final decision in the weeks ahead.”
Hear, hear! Let’s hope the council heeds this wise advice before vast quantities of egg head towards its face.
To read Councillor Izard’s letter to all Eastleigh councillors, click here.
Independent councillors give their support to Action against Destructive Development, ADD Update, 24 August 2017
Eastleigh councillors quit over plans to build thousands of homes near ancient woodland in Fair Oak, Hampshire Chronicle, 16 August 2017