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Lib Dem businesswoman anxious over EBC’s options B and C

Kate Beal Blyth, local Lib Dem businesswoman, presentation to Eastleigh Borough Council, 21 July 2016: I run a long-standing business based in Wessex House and own a property in the borough too. I have lived most of my life in Eastleigh.

Firstly, I’d like to say that I’m a card carrying Lib Dem and have actively campaigned with the team here. I did this because I truly believed in the good work the council did. For years I have proudly told my friends across the country how progressive Eastleigh is – especially when it comes to the environment.

We were first out of the gate with green wheelie bins and food composting. The council-owned building my company resides in is covered with solar panels. Futuristic electric cars are plugged in next to Sainsbury’s. Even our ‘welcome to Eastleigh’ sign has the tag line ‘tackling climate change’.

However, I cannot reconcile how the council I respect is seriously considering building houses and a major new road across the most environmentally important countryside in the entire borough.

I strongly believe that building of options B and C and the so-called North Bishopstoke bypass will only increase our current problems not solve them. It is not the neat solution presented by the supporters of these plans – where the developers pay for everything and it solves all of Eastleigh’s congestion problems in one fell swoop. It’s only priced at £31million after all…

I’m not going to enter into fine details arguments against the proposed road. I’ll let our traffic consultant do that as we progress into the next stage. I am simply going to give you some headline thoughts.

Firstly, I would like to counter the argument that the road would ease congestion. If options B and C are given the go ahead it is estimated that there will be a minimum of 30,000 extra vehicle movements each day. These movements coming from one single area will only add to the congestion problems we have already. The North Bishopstoke bypass will end up being simply self-serving to the new housing estates. Not the neat solution to help relieve traffic into Eastleigh town centre.

Secondly, I would argue that the proposed location of the road itself is unworkable. Parts of Highbridge Road and the area under Allbrook bridge is renowned for regular flooding. And on the matter of the bridge how viable is it really to either lower the road or raise the bridge to an adequate height to let freight vehicles through? Has this large undertaking been factored in to the £31 million price tag? Is it genuinely achievable?

Lastly, there are three main routes onto the M3 for anyone living in the proposed option B and C area. Adding the North Bishopstoke bypass into the mix isn’t going to change our current bottleneck congestion issues as it does not provide a new way onto the motorway. We are simply adding another 30,000 vehicle movements a day into the mix.

I want to ask councillors if you have fully explored all transport options or whether you are going for the supposed easy solution offered by developers? Surely it is your duty to ask for and support a full highways assessment at this stage?

Putting a major road through the most valuable countryside in the borough must be the last resort – it’s not the neat solution to our congestion problems. Our countryside, and residents, deserve better.

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Eastleigh’s former Lib Dem MP backs EBC’s efforts to fund CLLR

Lib Dem Bishopstoke Focus – Summer 2016: The long-proposed, and much-needed, Chickenhall Lane Link Road has received a boost from Eastleigh’s former Lib Dem MP Mike Thornton, and Eastleigh Borough Councillor Trevor Mignot in the Liberal Democrat’s summer 2016 edition of Bishopstoke Focus. Crucially, they say: “We’ll keep chasing until we get the result we need.” That’s great, because it’s exactly what we’re doing! But we need the result fast! If we’re to provide sustainable transport infrastructure for the 6,000+ new houses in Eastleigh Borough Council’s new local plan, we desperately need the Chickenhall Lane Link Road approved.

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The phoney war is over but the real battle is just beginning

Sarah Le May, Councillor, Upham, 8 August 2016: Despite having received by far the largest number of objections to the initial proposals, our worst fears were confirmed last week when Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) decided that options B and C would be carried forward for further investigation.

Although they will continue to try to establish some smaller scale developments, Eastleigh has broadly decided that the majority of its housing need up to 2036 should be met from a ‘strategic scale development’. They suggest that, after allowing for almost 10,000 dwellings that are already in the planning process, there will be another 6,500 required: with a potential for 6,200 new homes, options B and C are clearly their preferred options.

Eastleigh claims not to be ruling out the only other Options capable of creating a strategic scale development: options D and E, which are based on land around Allington Lane, south of Fair Oak. This area was included in earlier plans and is considered by many to be a more logical choice. However, the statement in the Way Forward document that, “[Options D and E] must be seen as doubtful at this time”, might be seen by the more cynical as suggesting that they believe that the decision has already been made.

However, the initial reports from our planning and traffic consultants suggest that we have good grounds on which to fight these proposals: they consider that the impact on the National Park and the ecological protection given to the River Itchen in options B and C may make this selection difficult to be shown to be sound. We also continue to pursue inadequacies in the transportation assessments and believe that, once greater work has been undertaken by EBC in this respect, the problems we have identified with the proposed new road will raise further questions as to the viability of this scheme.

Five Action Against Destructive Development representatives (all Eastleigh residents) spoke at the Council Meeting and we hope that they have shown how serious we are in opposition to B and C. We are now working hard to involve our MPs, local councillors and extend the work of our consultants: generally trying to find any means by which we can undermine these proposals. This is potentially the biggest threat that Upham has ever faced and we will need everyone’s help!

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ADD co-ordinator exposes flaws of options B and C, calls for CLLR

David Lovegrove, ADD co-ordinator, presentation to Eastleigh Borough Council, 21 July 2016: I chair Stoke Residents’ Association in Bishopstoke and am co-ordinating a coalition of local organisations campaigning for ACTION AGAINST DESTRUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT.

I have been an architect for 40 years specialising in the design of new housing and schools.

The paper prepared by your planning officer makes clear that the Council’s housing target cannot be met without one of two strategic developments, either B and C or D and E. We don’t disagree.

It then argues that B and C are the most likely be to deliverable. Why is this? We think mainly because your leadership believes that the proposed North Bishopstoke bypass will solve traffic congestion. This is a NONSENSE and we believe that proper transport studies will prove this.

There are other major flaws of B and C:

  • Options B and C destroy the finest environmentally rich open countryside in the Borough.
  • Your council’s own reports refer to significant negative impacts on the Itchen Valley.
  • The highest area planning status, the South Downs National Park, would be detrimentally impacted.
  • Huge traffic problems would be caused by the North Bishopstoke bypass for Twyford and links to the M3. It is extremely doubtful that Network Rail would sanction a new bypass of sufficient capacity under the Allbrook railway bridge, thereby threatening the plans.

The better option is the combination of Options D and E which, in the past, your planning officers recommended for the following reasons:

  • Options D and E are related to existing urban areas, with good access to employment in Eastleigh and Southampton.
  • They achieved approval from the major conservation groups. The Environment Agency approved the idea of a link road between Allington Lane and the Chickenhall Lane Link Road.
  • Sufficient green buffer zones could be provided between settlements to maintain strong identities.
  • A new railway station, and/or sustainable rapid transit facilities could serve the development.
  • The potential of junction 6 of the M27 could be future proofed.

Your leadership is playing down the possibility of achieving the Chickenhall Lane Link Road and this is why Options D and E are being described as ‘doubtful’.

How defeatest is that?

This Link Road should be your council’s ABSOLUTE TOP PRIORITY. Everyone agrees that it would relieve traffic congestion and a bid is already in preparation for central government funding.

The total development value of housing in Options D and E plus an uplift for the commercial opportunities in Riverside would be in the order of £1.5 billion. This would dwarf the £120 million cost of the Chickenhall Lane Link Road.

Is your council really saying that it can’t find this funding, either from government, developers or other stakeholders, to pay for this crucially important road?

Essentially D and E provide the better strategic development option and  there are LESS rather than MORE arguments against this choice as opposed to B and C.

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Action Against Destructive Development calls for support from Twyford

Hampshire Chronicle, 12 June 2016: RESIDENTS in Twyford have been urged to fight plans for thousands of new homes being built on countryside.  Chairman of Stoke Residents Association David Lovegrove has formed a group called Action Against Destructive Development, which is battling plans by Eastleigh Borough Council to earmark 6,000 homes between Bishopstoke, Fair Oak, Upham, Colden Common and Allbrook.  As part of the campaign, Mr Lovegrove is rallying support from nearby villages including Twyford and Colden Common, Upham, Owslebury and Fair Oak.

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CPRE firmly objects to options B and C

CPRE Hampshire, 16 February 2016: In response to Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan 2011-2036 ‘Issues and Options’ document, CPRE has evaluated the options in terms of their impact on the countryside. This process has confirmed that options B and C are the most damaging to the finest landscape in the borough, and the least acceptable in environmental terms, leading to an unnecessary new road across fine countryside, and probable adverse impacts on the River Itchen SSSI/SAC and the South Downs National Park. These sites are also the furthest from Southampton, the railway and links to the M27. To that end, CPRE will be firmly objecting to options B and C, and will propose an alternative scenario to meet the requirements. View CPRE’s full response below.

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