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General election, Sam Jordan, Labour candidate for Eastleigh, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 27 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 27 November, Sam Jordan, Labour candidate for Eastleigh, sent us the following email:

“To get straight to the point, I am against Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan, specifically Strategic Growth Options 5 and 6 (formerly Options B and C), and I was pleased to be able to support ADD and local residents on 22nd November by attending the protest at the Botleigh Grange Hotel.

With any housing development there can be controversy. However, we must use a sensible and balanced approach in our choices for development locations, prioritising residents, infrastructure and the environment. The planned new communities north of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak comprising 5,300 dwellings and serviced by a new road that will cut through our precious countryside, endangering wildlife and woodland, does none of that. It is also difficult to reconcile how Eastleigh Borough Council can declare a Climate Emergency, then push for the destruction of the very areas that help prevent such an emergency.

Quite apart from the environmental and ecological damage the new road will bring, it is hard to imagine how it will alleviate the traffic congestion Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Eastleigh experience on a daily basis, and despite claims to the contrary, I fear it will make things worse.

Throughout the whole Local Plan exercise, Lib Dem run Eastleigh Borough Council, for whatever reason, has refused to properly consider other options. I have lived in Eastleigh for 30 years and, like other residents, remember how years ago £385,000 (possibly more) was spent by the council on work to progress a Major Development Area in Allington Lane. It had plans for road, rail, schools, doctors and other key infrastructure. The Council even went so far as to officially name the new town “Allington” before suddenly calling a halt to the project.

As a local person I understand the need for housing, but not only should this be the right kind of housing, it should also be in the right place. SGOs 5 and 6 are, quite simply, the wrong place. Anyone who lives in the area, understands the area, or shares a love of nature, knows that.”

Sam Jordan, Labour candidate for Eastleigh

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General election, Paul Holmes, Conservative candidate for Eastleigh, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 27 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 27 November, Paul Holmes, Conservative candidate for Eastleigh, sent us the following email:

Politicians are often criticised for not giving straight answers so let me be crystal clear – I am opposed to this Local Plan.

I share many of the concerns that ADD and local residents have with the plan in its current form. I am clear that it would damage ancient woodland, damage local wildlife and generate more traffic and congestion. The answers and evidence that Eastleigh Borough Council have supplied in support of the plan have so far been inadequate.

This is why, like many of you, I attended the Examination Hearing at the Botleigh Grange Hotel last week and made these points to the Inspector.  The Strategic Growth Option (Options B & C) in the plan would cause irreparable damage to the environment and the character of the community. Given the detrimental impact that the plan would have on our quality of life, it cannot be allowed to go ahead.

There are also several missed opportunities with the current plan. There is insufficient focus on developing brownfield sites, the council is delivering more homes than is required and it is putting them in the wrong location.

Furthermore, the process that has been followed by the council is as bad as the plan itself. Eastleigh Borough Council has been without a plan for almost a decade and this has allowed speculative and unsuitable development to take place in the borough. One plan has already been rejected and officers were still preparing technical documents after the consultation closed. This does not represent a fair and open consultation.

There is no doubt in my mind that this plan is unsuitable in its current form. My solution would be to bring the council and the community together to devise an exciting new plan that protects our environment, and quality life, whilst clearly setting out where development should and shouldn’t take place.

If the council continues on its current course and refuses to listen, then I will continue to stand with ADD and local residents and oppose the plan with all the energy I have.”

Paul Holmes, Conservative candidate for Eastleigh

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General election, Lynda Murphy, Liberal Democrat candidate for Eastleigh, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 26 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 26 November, Lynda Murphy, Liberal Democrat candidate for Eastleigh, sent us the following email:

“I understand concerns about Eastleigh’s Local Plan and, if elected as your next Member of Parliament, I will be independent of the council. I would represent all views and concerns, and challenge the council when I see it necessary.

Please be assured that I would want to do everything that I can to make sure that we protect as much green space and countryside as possible for our wildlife to live and thrive in, as well as for future generations’ enjoyment. I will also campaign to make sure there are sufficient wildlife corridors, as well as better walking and cycling routes.

However, I am very aware that as a country we have not addressed the significant shortage of housing that’s needed for many decades. Every council, no matter what colour is in charge, has to show where and how many homes they will allow.

The government’s planning inspector concluded the previous Local Plan draft was not sound as it did not provide sufficient housing. So this new Plan has had to increase the amount of new homes. That does mean, unfortunately, that many of these will have to be built on previously undeveloped land: there just isn’t enough brownfield land available.

I know there are concerns about traffic and congestion. The borough’s policy is to provide the infrastructure on development sites at the start, helping alleviate the impact additional development brings. This also fits in with their recent climate emergency declaration.

I have enquired about the ancient woodland, and have been assured that it will be protected. There will be measures such as low-level lighting to protect bat corridors, as well as extensive green buffers between the woodland and new development, unlike previous generations of building. I am pleased the council has achieved agreed statements with Natural England, Forestry Commission and Forestry England.

Our borough council have had their hands tied by this Conservative government. A Liberal Democrat government would give local authorities increased powers to reject new developments that do not meet sustainability standards, including their impact on the natural environment and contribution to climate change.”

Lynda Murphy, Liberal Democrat candidate for Eastleigh

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Letter to the Daily Echo: Our animal shelter petition is not causing “needless worry”

Letter to the Daily Echo from Annette Lodge, Chair of Trustees, St Francis Animal Welfare, 26 November 2019: “I AM surprised that council leader Keith House thinks our petition to save St Francis Animal shelter is ‘creating needless worry’. If he wants to persuade the community it’s needless, it’s really very simple: all he has to do is issue a categorical assurance that in this or any development plan he will personally protect St Francis Animal Welfare by allowing sufficient open space and belts of noise-abating woodland around us, to protect both us and the people in any new houses. Sadly candidate Lynda Murphy has yet to give us any assurances on this either, or to reply to us…

 

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General election, Steve Brine, Conservative candidate for Winchester, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 26 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 26 November, Steve Brine, Conservative candidate for Winchester, sent us the following email:

“I went to the Examination in Public at the Botleigh Grange Hotel last Friday and the words below come directly from my address to the Planning Inspector.

‘Eastleigh’s Liberal-run authority has been without a Local Plan for years meaning it has no organised way to protect the borough from over-development or make provision for ordered development affecting the lives of thousands of local people.

The draft Local Plan incorporating a proposed SGO (Strategic Growth Option) – known as Options B&C – proposes some 5,300 houses on the northern edge border of Winchester and Eastleigh, threatening a changed way of life for the communities I have represented in Colden Common, Twyford, Hursley, Otterbourne and Shawford for almost a decade.

I have worked for many years alongside campaign group ADD, and other local MPs, to resist this Plan. Today is a chance for me to address the inquiry directly and give a voice to the thousands of my constituents who, while hugely impacted by the SGO if it went ahead, have no say over it because they live in the Winchester district and as such don’t get the chance to elect councillors in the Eastleigh borough. We are very worried about that ‘democratic deficit’ but also traffic chaos in the villages I represent as well as the environmental impact on many fronts.

There is no question in my mind, and many of those I speak on behalf of, that this Plan with its disastrous options B&C should be thrown out.'”

Steve Brine, Conservative candidate for Winchester

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Campaigners arrived in their hundreds to protest against local plans for 5,200 homes in ‘ancient woodland’

Daily Echo, 23 November 2019: LOCAL residents and campaigners arrived in their hundreds yesterday as they protested plans for 5,200 homes to be built near “ancient woodland”. Over 400 people campaigned outside the independent planning inspector’s examination meeting at the Botleigh Grange Hotel in Hedge End, as a last bid effort to stop the local plan being approved. It would see 5,200 new homes, shops, schools, open spaces and a new access road built on land between Bishopstoke and Fair Oak. Kate Beal Blyth, a representative of ADD, said how grateful ADD was for everyone turning out “despite the weather and lack of parking facilities to show their dismay and anger at the way Eastleigh are trying to steamroller their plan against the will of local residents.”

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General election, Lewis North, Liberal Democrat candidate for Meon Valley, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 21 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 21 November, Lewis North, Liberal Democrat candidate for Meon Valley, sent us the following email:

“As things stand I oppose the Eastleigh Local Plan proposals.

I share the deep concerns of many people in Owslebury, Upham and Durley about the impact on local roads and the environment the proposed housing development may have.

While I accept the need for additional housing, particularly affordable housing, and I am not against building additional homes where they are needed, I question whether this is the best location for this number of houses to be built.

Both Winchester City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council have declared a Climate Emergency and are seeking to be carbon neutral by 2030. To be countenancing building over 5,000 new homes over the next 20+ years without building in sustainable transport infrastructure from the outset is incompatible with those goals.

Without alternative transport options local car journeys will increase and make congestion in Owslebury, Upham and Durley worse. At present the Eastleigh Plan seeks to mitigate this through a new link road, although it is not clear when this road would be completed nor how it will be paid for.

The developer should contribute to sustainable means of transport, such as improving cycle connectivity between the new development and the railway stations and potential work places in Winchester and Eastleigh as well as being asked to contribute to improving the roads.

I am also deeply concerned about the environmental impact of the development. Given that this is an area of special scientific interest, I am worried that the run-off from the development could contaminate the River Itchen and affect protected species.

I have explained my concerns with Cllr. Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, and been clear that I have real concerns about the development.

I trust that helps to clarify my position.”

Lewis North, Liberal Democrat candidate for Meon Valley

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General election, Ron Meldrum, Green Party candidate for Eastleigh, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 21 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 21 November, Ron Meldrum, Green Party candidate for Eastleigh, sent us the following email:

“The philosophy of the Green Party is that we need a sustainable society and not one based on continual growth. The growth model of economics, which the other political parties are so keen on pursuing, is wrecking the planet and if left unchecked will wreck us too. It has been said many a time that anyone who thinks we can have infinite growth on a finite planet is either madman or an economist.

I moved to Eastleigh in 1983 and since then I have seen the continual erosion of green and open land replaced with concrete and housing. This has resulted in increased car usage, more roads, increased air pollution and increased noise pollution. A low carbon integrated public transport system is still missing, despite the other parties telling us how green they are. It seems in reality they are not green?

It was the Tory government, in 2011, which told Eastleigh Borough Council it must build more homes. The whole emphasis of the new Local Plan is all about building on virtually every space it can find; which includes many green spaces. The erosion of green spaces worries me as this reduces our biodiversity, can affect our mental health, education, destruction of nature and well-being.

As such, I would find it difficult to support the new Local Plan. The plan is all about growth and the ultimate destruction of nature’s life support systems. For a healthy society, we should protect all life and work with nature and not against it.

Eastleigh Greens have supported campaigns against the Southampton Airport expansion and the development planned for Fair Oak and Horton Heath – as well as the astronomical estate planned for the much loved and used Stoke Park Woods in Bishopstoke.

As a parliamentary candidate for Eastleigh I hope you will feel able to support the goals of the Green Party in Eastleigh and vote accordingly on the 12 December.”

Ron Meldrum, Green Party candidate for Eastleigh

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Mr House, when is a Master Plan not a Master Plan?

ADD UPDATE, 21 November 2019: Over the last four years, volunteers at ADD, together with our professional advisers, have worked hard to hold Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC), to account when it comes to his council’s Local Plan decision-making. Christa Masters, an independent Planning Inspector, will examine the details of his Plan at an inquiry starting today, and lasting into January.

In an article in the Daily Echo yesterday about the huge support for St Francis Animal Welfare, a 62-year-old animal shelter which would be very badly affected by Easteigh’s Local Plan but has been ignored by EBC, Keith House gave the following statement:

“The Local Plan is with the Planning Inspector ahead of the Inquiry and as such is now out of the Council’s hands. The Inspector will not consider a petition. When the Local Plan is endorsed by the Inspector, any planning application for development will have to give regard to site issues including neighbouring land uses.

“The Council will respond to these as part of its planning role at the time including by consideration alongside the Master Plan that will be developed over the next two years. There is no Master Plan at this stage, so the speculation around St Francis’ is, at the moment, just speculation and is creating needless worry. At multiple points, there will be opportunities for the charity, supporters and neighbours to be involved and this is the best place for the charity’s concerns to be considered.”

We must hold Mr House to account here too.

First, Mr House says “when the Local Plan is endorsed by the Inspector”. Of course, he should have said “if”.

Second, he says “there is no Master Plan at this stage, so the speculation around St Francis is, at the moment, just speculation and is creating needless worry”.

Needless worry?! Really. If there is no Master Plan, what is this document published in May 2018, which clearly has Master Plan in the title? And this one, published last October, as an addendum?

Our local communities have been at Keith House’s mercy for way too long. The Planning Inspector must now decide whether his Local Plan is sound or not. We look forward to presenting our arguments against his proposals to her in the weeks ahead.

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General election, Paula Ferguson, Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester, writes…

ADD UPDATE, 20 November 2019: Ahead of the general election on 12 December, ADD has invited each candidate for each constituency that will be impacted by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan and, in particular, its plans for a ‘Strategic Growth Option’ (SGO) of 5,300 houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, to supply us with up to 350 words on their views on the SGO.

On 20 November, Paula Ferguson, Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester, has sent us the following email:

“As things stand I oppose the Eastleigh Local Plan proposals.

I share the deep concerns that many people have about the impact on local roads and the environment the proposed housing development may have.

Having lived in Winchester for 20 years, I know first-hand how bad the congestion is on the Colden Common & Twyford road, to the extent that children travelling from Colden Common to schools in Winchester now have to get a bus more than 20 minutes earlier just to get to school on time.

While I accept the need for additional housing, particularly affordable housing, and I am not against building additional homes where they are needed, I question whether this is the best location for this number of houses to be built.

Both Winchester City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council have declared a Climate Emergency and are seeking to be carbon neutral by 2030. To be countenancing building over 5,000 new homes over the next 20+ years without building in sustainable transport infrastructure from the outset is incompatible with those goals.

Without alternative transport options local car journeys will increase and make congestion particularly in Colden Common & Twyford worse. At present the Eastleigh Plan seeks to mitigate this through a new link road, although it is not clear when this road would be completed nor how it will be paid for.

The developer should contribute to sustainable means of transport, such as improving cycle connectivity between the new development and the railway stations and potential work places in Winchester and Eastleigh as well as being asked to contribute to improving the roads.

I am also deeply concerned about the environmental impact of the development. Given that this is an area of special scientific interest, I am worried that the run-off from the development could contaminate the River Itchen and affect protected species.

I have explained my concerns to Cllr. Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, and been clear that as it stands I am opposed to the housing development.

I trust that helps to clarify my position.”

Paula Ferguson, Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester

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