Eastleigh needs sustainable development – wake up Eastleigh council!

ADD UPDATE, 18 July 2019: To anyone who came of age in the 1960s, Eastleigh’s Local Plan has an eerily retro feel to it.

In those days, no one had heard of sustainable development or global warming. The car was king, you measured your success in life by the number and value of ‘motors’ in your front drive and you only used public transport or the bicycle if that was all you could afford. Extinction Rebellion were probably just a whacky new rock group and, as for Greta Thunberg, her parents hadn’t even been born.

Fast forward to 2019, and Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) don’t seem to realise that times have moved on. It is truly shocking that any authority – let alone one that claims to be ‘tackling climate change’ – should be promoting a totally unsustainable development in options B/C, which involves around new 5,500 houses and a major new road north of Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Allbrook and south of Colden Common, Owslebury and Upham. The government requires that any new development should be sustainable. The UK parliament has recently declared a climate change emergency.

ADD has been investigating sustainable transport options including rail, bus, cycling and walking for the development proposals in the Local Plan. EBC has deliberately played down the opportunities for a new station at Allington Lane and for improved rail services in the area.

A new station at Allington Lane combined with integrated bus services, cycle and pedestrian routes could serve up to 7,000 households. The concept of local rail services in the Eastleigh-Fareham-Southampton Central triangle is being taken forward by Network Rail via their current Continuous Modular Strategic Planning (CMSP) procedure. This means that there could be a viable 30-minute service between Eastleigh and Fareham. This is supported by the Three Rivers Rail Partnership and Rail Future.

Over the life of the proposed Local Plan (to 2036), there are further proposals such as the Solent metro that will keep pace with development of the Solent Area.

On the other hand, options B/C are utterly car-dependant and could have been calculated to maximise carbon dioxide levels. Building a new road would destroy the most biodiverse part of the borough, and is as likely to contribute to traffic congestion as to relieve it, especially in the Allbrook/ Woodside Avenue areas.

More and more bodies are emphasising the vital need for sustainable solutions, including the recently published report by the UK Committee on Climate Change. In these circumstances why is EBC proposing development options B/C in the most remote parts of the borough far from all rail stations and other amenities? Why are they ignoring the potential to provide a new station and improved rail services, developing a truly sustainable and integrated transport service?

To quote a well-known sixties hit, The Times They Are A-Changin’. Wake up, Eastleigh.