ADD UPDATE, 14 February 2022: Action against Destructive Development (ADD) has welcomed news that Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) is purchasing farmland in the former Option B area of the Local Plan – and that it has pledged to protect it as a green space.
EBC leader Keith House said: “This land will remain undeveloped, help protect land between our communities and provide environmental benefits for the long term.”
EBC is in the process of acquiring Stoke Park Farm and Manor Farm in Bishopstoke, land that the council had originally earmarked for housing as part of a 5,500-home expansion of the borough. In April 2020 the government planning inspector instructed the council to withdraw the proposal, along with the adjacent Option C development in Fair Oak.
EBC says it is now considering a number of options, including “additional woodland planting, creating habitats for biodiversity to thrive such as the Southern Damsel Fly, or left in natural states as additional green space such as meadows or wetlands, preserving our gaps between our towns and villages.”
Welcoming the council’s decision, ADD chair John Lauwerys said: “This is great news for the residents of Bishopstoke and Colden Common – and for anyone concerned about our precious natural environment. It means that the development on the option B area including the planned new link road will never take place. And, given that Option C was dependent on the link road, that too now seems consigned to history.”
Purchasing the land will enable EBC to meet a legal requirement set out by Natural England to offset the harmful effects of nitrogen and other chemicals from new housing entering the sea and other waterways. Because fertilisers used in agriculture also produce nitrogen, finding alternative uses for the land will satisfy this requirement. There are currently a number of developments planned for the borough, including more than 2,000 homes at nearby Horton Heath being developed by EBC.