Attenborough’s new ‘Wind in the Willows’ video to save wildlife: think of Eastleigh’s disastrous Local Plan when you watch…

BBC, 28 March 2019: A group of celebrities have come together in a campaign based on Wind in the Willows to encourage people to save the UK’s wildlife. A special film trailer for The Wind in the Willows story has been released by The Wildlife Trusts starring Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate, Alison Steadman and Asim Chaudhry – but it’s not the story as you know it. The animation shows characters from the much-loved children’s book, like Toad, Badger and Moly, falling into hardship as diggers knock down ancient trees, new roads are constructed and glorious rivers polluted. Think of Eastleigh’s DISASTROUS Local Plan when you watch. It’s not too late to DEFEAT this Plan… It’s not too late to SAVE OUR WILDLIFE.


Look out Eastleigh Borough Council – Chris Packham is watching you!

ADD UPDATE, 1 MARCH 2019: Regular visitors of our website will be aware that Chris Packham grew up in our part of Hampshire, and is one of ADD’s strongest supporters. You may also be aware that Packham recently launched the Wild Justice action group with the aim of prosecuting local authorities that cause unnecessary damage to wildlife. Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) had better watch out because he has already described their Local Plan, which will be scrutinised by an appointed planning inspector in the next few months, as “eco-vandalism”.

Yet his relationship with EBC used to be such a happy one. Back in 2002 he wrote a foreword to the council’s publication “Wild about Eastleigh”, in which he congratulated EBC on taking “the important step of banding together organisations and individuals who are dedicated to conserving our local wildlife”.

Describing Eastleigh as an oasis, he wrote: “Some of Britain’s best, brightest, biggest and most exciting species live their lives just around your corner.” It was up to us all, he said, to ensure that they continued to do so.

Wind the clock forward to March 2017, and Packham is still ‘wild about Eastleigh’, but in a totally different way. He is incensed after learning that EBC has shredded its original conservation document and, through its Local Plan, opted to wreck by far the most environmentally rich and diverse part of the borough, namely the land north of Stoke Park Wood (now known as Option B). In 2002, EBC – under the same leadership as today – described this land as a Priority Diversity Area and now earmarks it for over 1,000 houses. 

“It is desperately important that people get behind the campaign to prevent this piece of eco-vandalism,” Packham said. “The council is guilty of shabby politics. The plans are bad for wildlife and bad for humans. Of course, we need houses, but there are better places in the borough to build them. Green space is an essential component to a happy and healthy life. It’s there to exercise, walk the dog, engage with nature, reduce stress and benefit mental health. This is short-sighted short-termism motivated by ill-informed, ill-educated people who care little for their children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

“The threatened stretch of the River Itchen is of national importance and incredibly rich in rare freshwater life, which councils should be doing all they can to protect. Stoke Park Woods are where I learnt about wildlife as a kid, where I discovered my first kestrel nest. They are a huge asset and would never recover if the plans went ahead. The national park would also suffer from a dramatic increase in traffic and pollution.”

So, will Packham’s Wild Justice end up taking Eastleigh’s council to court? Well, ADD has other ideas – not that we expect any gratitude from the council’s leadership. ADD’s mission is to prevent Eastleigh’s Local Plan as currently drafted from going ahead in the first place, so avoiding the destruction of wildlife, ruination of villages and traffic chaos it would entail.

This would then free up Wild Justice to confront other councils that pay scant attention to the natural heritage in their areas. There would still be plenty to choose from but none, we suspect, as potentially devastating to wildlife as EBC’s Local Plan.

To view the document EBC has shredded, click here for part one; and here for part two (see pp52-54).

For more details of ADD’s current activities, click here.

To make a vital donation to the ADD campaign, click here.


A MESSAGE TO ADD’S SUPPORTERS… together we shall win!

ADD UPDATE, 15 February 2019: A MESSAGE TO ADD’S SUPPORTERS… together we shall win!

You may have noticed that we have been rather quiet since the end of 2018, but please be assured that ADD is working as hard as ever to defend Eastleigh, its environment and that of neighbouring parishes from the Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s dreadful Local Plan. Most of our efforts have been behind the scenes as we prepare for the Planning Inspector’s examination of the draft Plan, which will determine whether or not we are successful. This will probably take place in the spring or early summer, though the recent decision by the government to appoint a new inspector may delay matters.

We have been very heartened by the continuing messages of support coming in, both from individuals and organisations. It is little exaggeration to say that the leadership of EBC – and the developers and landowners who stand to make huge profits – are entirely isolated in terms of support. We are increasingly confident that we can win because the Plan is demonstrably wrong in principle and probably undeliverable in practice.

That is perhaps why EBC has produced a raft of new evidence – much of it flawed – even after the official deadline for doing so, giving the impression that they are making it up as they go along. Part of our job is to consider these late submissions. We also anticipate that the questions the previous inspector has asked the council will be published soon. We will then have the opportunity to comment on EBC’s responses to those questions.

‘Thank you’ to our generous supporters

We have had a very generous response from local residents to our pleas for more funds. First, a good result from our leaflet drop last November and then a magnificent effort by the village of Upham, which held an auction of promises in January. Our heartfelt thanks to those who have helped us in this way.
Please keep the money coming in if you can afford to do so. The council is spending millions on the inquiry, far more than ADD could ever hope to raise. We have one advantage that it will never have: we are in the right, and we have the evidence to prove it. However, although our volunteers are putting in countless hours of unpaid work, we must also employ a range of specialist consultants as well as lawyers to make our case as effectively as possible.

Why we have to win

Tellingly, the number of new homes that Eastleigh actually needs keeps coming down. There are different ways to work it out but, even on the figures provided by EBC, they are planning nearly 2,000 more than necessary. Recent revisions by the Office for National Statistics of population and household projections suggest the borough does not even need to deliver Options B or C at all! To the extent that Eastleigh does need them, they are homes for the elderly, social housing and starter homes rather than the executive dwellings that the developers want to build.

The only rationale for the current version of the Plan, it seems to us, is that EBC is one of the most indebted local authorities in Britain (net borrowings are anticipated to hit a staggering £455 million by the end of this financial year); it needs the money the extra housing will bring. Understandable perhaps, but no justification for such widespread destruction to the environment, including serious damage to seven areas of ancient woodland and the River Itchen and an unnecessary increase in carbon dioxide levels. Nor the misery of even more traffic chaos and the devastating impact the Plan would have on villages like Bishopstoke, Fair Oak, Allbrook, Owslebury, Upham, Twyford, Otterbourne and Colden Common.

Watch this space…

As the inquiry approaches we will update our supporters – and we will need your continued backing. Thank you again… together we shall win.



Thousands back greenbelt campaign for South Hampshire – sign up before 4 December!

Hampshire Chronicle, 22 November 2018: The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire has received a wave of support ahead of the decision on whether to support the adoption of a South Hampshire green belt to protect the remaining green spaces between Eastleigh, Southampton, Fareham and Portsmouth. [TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE CRUCIAL PETITION, CLICK HERE.]

The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) will decide on adopting a South Hampshire Green Belt on December 4.

Charlee Bennett, chief executive of the CPRE said: “We know local authorities are up against it. Government housing targets are increasing and the pressure to deliver is huge. This is why we are delighted that the PUSH leaders have been supportive so far.

“We know that at the meeting on the fourth the committee will be looking into the development of a Statement of Common Ground across South Hampshire Planning Authorities, we would like to see plans for a new green belt within this.

“We all need these green spaces, be it for the morning run, dog walking, escape from the pressures of city living or just for the children and grandchildren to play, they are so important for our mental and physical health and well-being.

“We can still meet our housing needs and maintain our quality of life. A new green belt would help us achieve a beautiful and thriving South Hampshire.”

CPRE Hampshire is calling on the public to show their support and make their voice heard by adding their to the 13,000 who have already signed the petition, calling on council leaders to protect the green spaces they love.

Councillor Sean Woodward, a long-time supporter of the Green Belt, will be joined by his fellow elected leaders from south Hampshire to receive the outcomes from a report exploring the “justification for considering a green belt”.

The petition will be handed to Cllr Woodward ahead of the meeting.

To view this article by Emily Liddell on the Hampshire Chronicle’s website, click here.


Fungus walk in Otterbourne woods, 24 November – cancelled

ADD UPDATE, 14 November 2018: As some of our supporters are aware, Rob Byrne, a local resident, has been been planning a guided walk in Otterbourne Woods with a fungus expert on 24 November. We have been asked to let people know that sadly this event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Given the success of a similar ‘bat walk’ in September, we hope other such events will be arranged in the future.


Eastleigh council formally adopts Local Plan – all eyes turn to Planning Inspector

ADD UPDATE, 21 October 2018: At a meeting last Thursday Eastleigh Borough Council voted to approve its Local Plan, despite all the holes identified by locals and expert bodies during the consultation period over the summer. This Plan, which includes proposals for 5,300 new houses on the green fields between Colden Common, Upham, Fair Oak and Bishopstoke, will now be sent to Whitehall for scrutiny by an independent Planning Inspector.

John Lauwerys, chair of ADD, spoke at Thursday’s meeting. For the benefit of our many supporters, we share his summary and his speech below.


 “I attended the council meeting on Thursday 18 October. There weren’t many people in the audience. Eastleigh Lib Dems, under their leader Keith House [pictured], had clearly been told not to speak on the Local Plan so none did apart from the Great Leader himself! ADD did not seek to encourage supporters to attend, expecting it to be a foregone conclusion that councillors would rubber stamp their leader’s flawed Plan. 

As previously, the council failed to listen to anything. I gave my speech [below], as did two others, but we may as well not have done. The council then agreed to approve the draft Local Plan for submission to Whitehall – for the record by 25 votes (all Lib Dem) to 7 (4 Conservative; 3 Independent). 

Gin Tidridge, an Independent Councillor, tried – without success – to argue that because not all the evidence was complete and the representations had not been made available to the councillors five days before the meeting, progress on the Local Plan should only be ‘noted’. I think this will now be added to the growing list of procedural faults made by the council, which might persuade the Planning Inspector that the plan process is not legally compliant.

If this Plan fails, councillors will only have themselves to blame. They have listened to no one bar Keith House and steamrolled it through. Their judgement day awaits. 

Meanwhile, we continue to build our case for the Planning Inspector, who we anticipate – once appointed – will hold his/her enquiry in February/March next year. We will now embark on our final fundraising push so that we can hire the best possible consultants to help us consign this appalling Plan to the dustbin of history.”


“Mr Mayor, Members of the Council,

I am speaking on behalf of ADD, Action against Destructive Development.

It is nearly three years since the Council issued its Issues and Options paper which was intended to be the Regulation 18 consultation for the new Local Plan running to 2036. Inevitably the most controversial part of the Plan would be about the number and location of the additional housing the Council would need to provide to meet government targets. The Council has settled on a figure of 14,580 required between 2016 and 2036. Of this total all but 4,020 dwellings have been identified as deliverable through sites on which planning permission has been granted etc. The majority of the balance needed, 3,350 dwellings, were to be found through a major Strategic Development Option (SGO) which the Council itself narrowed down to either options B/C or options D/E. The final decision on which to choose was to be taken on the basis of objective evidence and in response to the views of the public.

The position the Council is in now is frankly surreal! 

Despite lacking any objective evidence to support the choice, last December the Council confirmed that options B/C should be chosen to deliver eventually 5,300 houses with the construction of a new North Bishopstoke Link Road. Note that this option choice commits the Borough to build 2,000 more houses beyond 2036 into a quite uncertain future and these dwellings would HAVE to be built if the cost of the expensive new road is to be recovered from the developers. Moreover the recent Office of National Statistics population and households projections for 2036 have been revised down and show Eastleigh is expected to require just over 3,000 fewer households than previously estimated. This is referred to in paragraph 30 of your cover paper but no reduction is proposed to the housing targets built into the Local Plan. New government guidance on housing targets is promised soon but is it sensible to choose an SGO now which MUST deliver an eventual hugely greater number of houses than any targets require for Eastleigh’s benefit?

It is also quite clear this is not what local people want. The first consultation on the Issues and Options paper produced 592 objections to options B/C with just 25 in favour. In contrast 96 were opposed to options D/E and 65 in favour. The massive unpopularity of the options that the Council’s leadership is insistent on driving through is again shown by the response to the just completed Regulation 19 consultation. Of the total of 927 responses to the draft Plan 766 were opposed to options B/C and the new link road. If there were any remaining doubt on the part of councillors about the rejection of this choice of SGO, this would have been removed by the largest ever attendance by members of the public at the Council meeting last December when about 800 people came on a wet and cold night to show their opposition to the chosen draft Local Plan.

And this evening bizarrely you are being asked formally to approve a Plan without even having had the opportunity to read the representations made under the Regulation 19 consultation. The paper summarising the responses is woefully inadequate in giving councillors an indication of what has been said by the many respondents. So for example you are not being told that The Environment Agency ‘feels the plan is unsound in its current form’; that Natural England has ‘serious concerns that the development allocation (options B/C) will cause irreparable damage to some or all of the woodlands particularly Stoke Common Woods’; that Hampshire County Council regards the chosen SGO as an ‘isolated site… not in an inherently sustainable location’.

But of course the key decision on the soundness of the Plan fortunately rests with the Planning Inspector, soon to be appointed, who will hold an Examination in Public early next year. The ADD campaign has the support of thousands of local people who are determined to see a wrong headed Plan rejected. And by having already donated over £100,000 they have made it possible to appoint a full range of specialist consultants, together with a planning barrister, to expose the flaws in the draft Plan you are asked to adopt this evening.

Thank you councillors for you for your attention.”

John Lauwerys, ADD chair
18 October 2018


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!


Eastleigh’s Local Plan – we can definitely win this battle

ADD UPDATE, 11 August 2018 – A message to all supporters now the pre-submission consultation period is over:

A big ‘thank you’ to the hundreds of residents who’ve shown their support for ADD during this crucial time – especially those who’ve registered objections to the Local Plan during the recent consultation period and contributed to our fighting fund.

We know that many supporters found the Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) website incredibly frustrating, with an estimated 500 people unable to log their comments at one stage. We really appreciate the patience and perseverance of all those who persisted until they were successful.

Links to ADD’s response to the consultation, which like everyone else’s will be sent to the planning inspector, are below. You’ll see that it’s wide-ranging and extensive, and draws on the evidence of an impressive array of consultants and other experts, all pulled together by our planning consultant and planning barrister.

It has been incredibly hard work, much of it carried out by unpaid volunteers. However, it has left us even more convinced that there are big gaps, inaccuracies and contradictions in EBC’s evidence base, as well as serious flaws in their processes.

We can demonstrate there are better, less destructive ways to meet Eastleigh’s housing targets. The current Local Plan will do virtually nothing to help local people find homes. It will, though, mean handsome profits for the developers – £250 million according to an EBC study.

In short, we are buoyed by the tremendous and growing level of local support and the strength of our case – and the realisation that we can win this battle.

Our main focus now is on the planning inquiry itself, likely to be next summer. The progress we have made so far has been possible only thanks to the generosity of the public. Without your donations we could never have engaged the professional support that has been so essential to our work. The studies they have produced are below; you’ll see they are of the highest quality.

We still need approximately £35,000 to reach our target of £100,000, so please, please continue to help us financially if you possibly can. It will enable us to continue to employ the legal, planning, transport and environmental expertise necessary to present our arguments in the most effective way possible. To donate, click here.

We know it’s a lot to ask, but it’s a small sacrifice to make for the future environment and quality of life of this very special part of Hampshire.

Thank you all, once again.

The team at ADD

ADD’s representation, August 2018

  1. Main report (response to question 4 for policies S5 and S6)
  2. Appendix 1 – Aquascience report (River Itchen SAC)
  3. Appendix 2 – Phlorum report (ecology)
  4. Appendix 3 – DTA report (transport)
  5. Appendix 4 – Terra Firm report (landscape)
  6. Appendix 5 – Hereward Phillpot QC – opinion, July 2017
  7. Appendix 6 – Hereward Phillpot QC – opinion, December 2017
  8. Appendix 7 – Report and Masterplan for Allington Lane
  9. Appendix 8 – Email from Professor Rob Wilby, Loughborough University (flood management)
  10. Response to S5 and S6 (b)
  11. Response to S4 and S5 – Employment
  12. Response to S2 and S3 – Housing

Worried about Eastleigh’s Local Plan website crashing? Council CEO says get in touch..

ADD UPDATE, 7 August 2018: Further to last night’s decision by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) to extend its Local Plan consultation to midnight tomorrow, 8 August, ADD’s chairman, John Lauwerys (above), had the email exchange below with EBC’s CEO Nick Tustian today. The bottom line is that if, like many people, you’ve been unable to submit your views because of system ‘errors’, and you’re concerned your views will not be registered, you should contact Mr Tustian immediately (see details below).

Email from John Lauwerys to Nick Tustian, 7 August 2018, 09:15
Subject: EBC draft local plan Reg.19 consultation

Dear Mr Tustian,

I rang your office yesterday to speak to you about the ‘crash’ of the EBC Local Plan consultation website, which is of great concern. Extending the consultation deadline by two days will give the large number of people still trying to make their representations more time to do so but it doesn’t ensure that your system’s failure will not have had a negative effect on the consultation process.

The main concern that ADD has is that some of those submitting a response to the consultation will have been prevented from completing their response half way through and have lost what they had completed thus far. We fear some will simply have given up in frustration and that accordingly their representation will be permanently lost. You referred in your note to councillors (which it would be courteous for you to post on the Council’s website to inform the wider public) to problems emerging on Sunday afternoon. We have had many reports of problems running through Saturday, Sunday and Monday 6 August – the original closing date for the consultation.

I would be glad on behalf of ADD to receive your assurance that the failure in your website system will not have resulted in any submission – which was in the process of being made – being permanently lost. If there is this possibility it seems essential that you urgently ensure a statement of that possibility is made public so that anyone so affected can quickly make another representation.

Yours sincerely,

John Lauwerys
On behalf of the ADD committee

Reply from Nick Tustian to John Lauwerys, 7 August 2018, 14:31
Subject: RE: EBC draft local plan Reg.19 consultation

Dear Mr Lauwerys,

The system we are using to record consultation responses is designed specifically to cope with large scale consultation events such as this and we have been working with the software company to try and understand why there have been problems over the weekend. Certainly at the moment the system seems to be working well and hopefully the extra 48 hours will enable anyone who experienced problems at the weekend to submit their response.

In respect of those who have attempted to submit but got an error message, their responses will be in the system as by this stage they will have completed all of the mandatory fields that would enable us to identify it. However, if anyone has concerns they should email us and we can check the system to ensure it has been received.

Yours sincerely

Nick Tustian
Chief Executive – Management Team
Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, SO50 9YN

[email protected]
[email protected]

Tel: 023 8068 8205 Ext: 8136


Eastleigh’s online form for Local Plan representations crashes – consultation extended

ADD UPDATE, 6 August 2018: Eastleigh Borough Council’s online form for Local Plan representations has crashed, perhaps because of the deluge of objectors! The council has therefore extended its consultation deadline from midnight tonight to midnight on Wednesday, 8 August. To view the council’s announcement, click here.

If, like many people, you have tried and failed to submit your representation, don’t give up – try again tomorrow. Alternatively, if you have not had time to submit a representation, please use this extra time to do so. Here’s how.

If you have had problems with the online form, either with submitting your representation, saving your draft or uploading documents/images (or something else), please email us so we can understand the scale of the problem.

Thanks to everyone for your incredible support! Together, we can win this fight!