ADD UPDATE, 16 December 2022: It has been a long time since ADD communicated with our supporters, and there is a simple reason for this. Having achieved our aim of getting fundamental changes to the Eastleigh Local Plan, there has been little to say. At its meeting in October, Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) voted to adopt adopt the revised plan for 2016-36 drawn up after the Planning Inspector’s stinging assessment of the original version.
Gone are proposals to build up to 5,500 homes in Strategic Growth Options B and C, which would have created a huge urban sprawl covering large swathes of Fair Oak and Bishopstoke in the most eco-sensitive parts of the borough. EBC has also abandoned the link road that would have cut Colden Common in two.
So ADD’s mission is complete – or is it?
At the ADD committee meeting last month, we discussed the continuing, probably never-ending need for vigilance. The pressure from developers will always be there, and EBC will start the process of reviewing the Local Plan in 2023. Whilst there is very little chance of the old proposals being revived, EBC still has to find space for another 2,500 homes (though this number may come down in light of revised population projections and changes in government planning policy).
We therefore believe there is a continuing need to protect our environment from the possibility of inappropriate, destructive development. In particular, we will scrutinise the revised plan when it is published, and we will comment as necessary. Our objective will be to ensure that, where there is a genuine need for new development, we get the right houses in the right places.
We shall also be following what happens to Stoke Park Farm in Bishopstoke, which originally made up most of Option B. EBC has purchased the land and taken it out of production to provide the nitrate and phosphate offset required whenever there are major building developments. This means it cannot be used for housing, nor can the major new link road originally planned to facilitate development in Fair Oak be built. The EBC Local Area Committee is championing proposals to create a wildlife park there, which we enthusiastically support.
Our overriding aim remains the same – to protect the environment and quality of life in our corner of Hampshire whilst supporting new housing development where it is appropriate. We will continue to keep you updated as our work continues.
After leading ADD since shortly after its inception six years ago and overseeing every aspect of its work, John Lauwerys has stepped down as chair. As many people know, his contribution to our community has been immense, and we are all grateful to him. David Ashe will be taking over in an interim capacity. David has been a leading and very active member of ADD, and is a former chair of Upham Parish Council.