Eastleigh’s Local Plan: what happens next?

ADD UPDATE, 28 September 2018: We are hugely grateful to all those supporters who objected to the Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) draft Local Plan in the summer or have helped us in other ways. We have been really encouraged by the massive number of objections and by their breadth and quality. True to form, EBC is delaying their publication until the last possible moment. We do know, though, that they include several statutory consultees such as the Environment Agency and Winchester City Council, both of whom declared Eastleigh’s Plan unsound.

We are even more convinced that we can defeat this cynical scheme, which would cause massive damage to the environment and a huge increase in traffic congestion without actually helping Eastleigh families onto the housing ladder. Although things have gone quiet for the time being, ADD is working hard behind the scenes for the next stages of this long-running saga.

So, what happens now?

EBC has said it will submit its Plan (known as the Deposit Draft) to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at the end of October. At the same time, it will have to publish all the representations it received during the summer consultation period, together with its reactions to these submissions.

We believe EBC will have a real problem in addressing the shortcomings of its Plan, but that it will ‘steam on’ regardless of the evidence. ADD and its advisers, meanwhile, will be going through EBC’s Deposit Draft in detail. If the past is any guide, there are certain to be inconsistencies and distortions, and it is part of our job to identify and highlight them.

Shortly after the ministry receives the Deposit Draft, it will appoint a Planning Inspector to examine the enormous amount of evidence. This will be the first time the Plan faces independent scrutiny. The Inspector is likely to hold a ‘Pre Examination’ meeting to determine the main contentious issues. There will then be an ‘Examination in Public’, probably in February/March. ADD and others who made representations, and who asked to provide supplementary evidence at the examination, will do so.

The Planning Inspector’s decision is expected next summer. We will then know if the council can go ahead with proposals that are so widely opposed by local communities and expert organisations alike.

So, this examination is the crunch point, and it will determine success or failure. ADD will need the continued support of our planning, transport, environmental and legal advisers, including our QC, up to and during the examination. And it will cost money.

Money matters

Last year we set ourselves the goal of raising £100,000 to fight these shocking proposals as forcefully as possible. Thanks to many generous supporters, we have so far raised £65,000 – funds that were vital in enabling us to submit such a robust objection to Eastleigh’s Plan in the summer.

Working to our original budget, we now need a final £35,000 to allow us to finish the job. If you have not yet given to the cause, or feel able to give more, please do so. This is a community-wide campaign and we need every member of the community to contribute. If you would like to donate, please click here.

To get an idea of what the money can do, please click here to see our submission to the inquiry. We hope you will agree it is comprehensive and professional. So, thanks again for all your magnificent support. With your continued help, we really can consign options B and C to the dustbin of history!