Details announced for Planning Inspector’s examination of Eastleigh’s Local Plan

ADD UPDATE, 20 August 2019: At long last, we have dates for the Planning Inspector’s examination of Eastleigh’s Local Plan. The hearing sessions will open on Thursday 21 November and run for a period of six weeks. Below is an email sent yesterday by Louise St John Howe, the Programme Officer, with all the details.

As you will read, the Inspector, Christa Masters, will publish her statement of Matters, Issues and Questions – which will make clear what she intends to focus on to determine if Eastleigh’s Plan is sound – during the week commencing 23 September. Once she has done this, we will give guidance to our supporters on what to expect, how to follow proceedings and what further assistance, if any, we may need.


Good Evening, 

As the Programme Officer for the Eastleigh Borough Council Local Plan Examination,  I am writing to  inform all those who submitted a Representation at the Regulation 19 Stage, when the Council invited comments on the submission draft of the Local Plan, that the hearing sessions of the Examination have now been arranged and are set out below.   

Hearing Sessions

These will all be held in the Millennium Suite at the Botleigh Grange Hotel, Grange Road, Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire, SO30 2GA and will open on Thursday 21 November, 2019 at 10.00 am.They will run for a period of six weeks on the following dates:-

Week 1:   Thursday 21 November, Friday 22 November 

Week 2:   Tuesday 26 November, Wednesday 27 November, Thursday 28 November

Week 3:   Wednesday 4 December, Thursday 5 December, Friday 6 December

Week 4:   Wednesday 8 January, Thursday 9 January

Week 5:   Tuesday 14 January, Wednesday 15 January, Thursday 16 January

Week 6:   Tuesday 28 January, Wednesday 29 January, Thursday 30 January 

Inspector’s Guidance Notes 

I am attaching a copy of the Inspector’s Guidance Notes which set out the process of the Examination and give information on the provision of hearing statements and how to register to take part in the hearing sessions.  On the last page of the Guidance Notes you will find a chart which sets out the key dates associated with the Hearing Sessions.  

Please note that if you wish to participate in any of the hearing sessions you will need to notify me of this by 11 October, even if you indicated in your response at Regulation 19 that you wished to take part.   The Inspector’s Matters, Issues and Questions and Draft Programme for the hearing sessions will be sent out w/c 23 September so that you have time to decide which of the hearing sessions would be most relevant for the issues you wish to discuss.  

Please get in touch with me by phone or email if you have any queries about the Examination or would like further clarification on any of the details in this email, however I will not be available between 20th August and 9th September as I will be on leave during this period.    

Kind regards,

Louise St John Howe
Programme Officer,
PO Services, PO Box 10965,
Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 3BF
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:   07789-486419



Planners still divided over controversial Eastleigh development proposals

Hampshire Chronicle, 4 August 2019: PROPOSALS for development between Eastleigh and Colden Common are still dividing planners. Eastleigh Borough Council wants to see a chunk of development on countryside between Bishopstoke/Fair Oak and Colden Common, with more than 5,000 new homes and new link road between Allbrook Hill, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak. The area abuts the boundary of the Winchester district, with the proposed road cutting into Winchester. A Statement of Common Ground has been drawn up by the two authorities stating each authority’s position for submission to a planning inspector who will examine the Eastleigh Local Plan. In this document, Winchester has raised several concerns about Eastleigh’s proposals for the area.


Eastleigh needs sustainable development – wake up Eastleigh council!

ADD UPDATE, 18 July 2019: To anyone who came of age in the 1960s, Eastleigh’s Local Plan has an eerily retro feel to it.

In those days, no one had heard of sustainable development or global warming. The car was king, you measured your success in life by the number and value of ‘motors’ in your front drive and you only used public transport or the bicycle if that was all you could afford. Extinction Rebellion were probably just a whacky new rock group and, as for Greta Thunberg, her parents hadn’t even been born.

Fast forward to 2019, and Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) don’t seem to realise that times have moved on. It is truly shocking that any authority – let alone one that claims to be ‘tackling climate change’ – should be promoting a totally unsustainable development in options B/C, which involves around new 5,500 houses and a major new road north of Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Allbrook and south of Colden Common, Owslebury and Upham. The government requires that any new development should be sustainable. The UK parliament has recently declared a climate change emergency.

ADD has been investigating sustainable transport options including rail, bus, cycling and walking for the development proposals in the Local Plan. EBC has deliberately played down the opportunities for a new station at Allington Lane and for improved rail services in the area.

A new station at Allington Lane combined with integrated bus services, cycle and pedestrian routes could serve up to 7,000 households. The concept of local rail services in the Eastleigh-Fareham-Southampton Central triangle is being taken forward by Network Rail via their current Continuous Modular Strategic Planning (CMSP) procedure. This means that there could be a viable 30-minute service between Eastleigh and Fareham. This is supported by the Three Rivers Rail Partnership and Rail Future.

Over the life of the proposed Local Plan (to 2036), there are further proposals such as the Solent metro that will keep pace with development of the Solent Area.

On the other hand, options B/C are utterly car-dependant and could have been calculated to maximise carbon dioxide levels. Building a new road would destroy the most biodiverse part of the borough, and is as likely to contribute to traffic congestion as to relieve it, especially in the Allbrook/ Woodside Avenue areas.

More and more bodies are emphasising the vital need for sustainable solutions, including the recently published report by the UK Committee on Climate Change. In these circumstances why is EBC proposing development options B/C in the most remote parts of the borough far from all rail stations and other amenities? Why are they ignoring the potential to provide a new station and improved rail services, developing a truly sustainable and integrated transport service?

To quote a well-known sixties hit, The Times They Are A-Changin’. Wake up, Eastleigh.


ADD continues to build case against Eastleigh’s Local Plan, amidst further delays

ADD UPDATE, 25 June 2019: Several ADD supporters have recently asked about the progress of our campaign to defeat Eastleigh’s Local Plan, and the likely timing of Planning Inspector’s examination of the plan. Since its formal submission to Whitehall last October, the Planning Inspector has highlighted numerous areas of missing evidence and asked the council to fill these gaps as quickly as possible. The council committed to completing this task by last Friday (21 June) but, due to problems with their website (again), these new reports have still not been released to the public. Given the ongoing delays to this process, we now think the Examination in Public won’t start before October – at the earliest.

While the council continues to try and produce evidence to support its ill-conceived plan, the ADD team continues to build the most compelling case against it. Indeed, thanks to ongoing donations from our thousands of supporters, we have been able to engage – as we had hoped – the best planning, traffic, environmental and legal advisers to develop our arguments.

Yesterday, a team from ADD, CPRE and our planning consultants West Waddy met our barristers, Hereward Phillpot QC and Caroline Daly of Francis Taylor Building chambers in London (see above). We cannot of course at this stage disclose what was discussed – save to say that the mood of the meeting was “optimistic”.

Thank you again to all of you, locally and nationally, who have supported our campaign so far. If you have yet to contribute to our fighting fund, or would like to give more, you can find out how to do so here.

The ADD team will strain every sinew to show how unsound and environmentally damaging Eastleigh’s Local Plan is and to highlight the council’s lack of evidence to justify the choice it has made against the clear opposition of local people.

As we have said all along, together we can win this fight!


Letter to the Hampshire Chronicle: More concerns about the future of the River Itchen

Letter to the Hampshire Chronicle, 14 June 2019:  THE environmental threats to the River Itchen, and potential solutions, were recently highlighted by BBC’s Countryfile. Whilst reporting on the controversy over food company Bakkavor’s release of chemicals in the river at Alresford, the BBC also said many farmers were acting on environmental concerns. A river keeper has highlighted another danger in a letter to the Chronicle this week. As he writes: “Unfortunately, there is another, darker side to the picture – plans by Eastleigh Borough Council to build thousands of houses on land that drains, via a network of feeder streams, directly into the River Itchen. If these plans ever go ahead, the damage would more than cancel out all the advances highlighted in the programme.”


Councillor for West End South opposes Local Plan – in Oxfordshire. ADD: ‘Double standards and muddled thinking

Eastleigh News, 20 May 2019: The newly elected councillor for West End South has told how he became ‘a little hot under the collar’ when heard of plans to ‘pave over vast swathes of the green belt’ in Oxfordshire. Liberal Democrat Tim Bearder who is both a West End parish councillor and a borough councillor for West End South also sits as a county councillor in Oxfordshire where he is opposed to South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan. In an article published in the Oxford Times last month Councillor Bearder warned South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan would result in a ‘catastrophic level of construction.” ADD have accused him of “double standards” in supporting Eastleigh’s Local Plan while opposing the Local Plan in his home county.


Eastleigh MP Mims Davies urges constituents to respond after EBC are forced to re-consult on proposed Local Plan

Mims Davies MP, 16 May 2019: The Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, Mims Davies, has urged her constituents to make sure that their voice is heard over the local council’s delayed Local Plan after Eastleigh Borough Council were forced into launching a new six-week consultation on over forty sites proposed for development across the Borough within the proposed Local Plan. The consultation comes after Eastleigh Borough Council was reprimanded by the Independent Planning Inspectorate in March for failing to properly consult on the proposed sites. The new consultation has already faced criticism after residents were unable to complete the consultation online, while the form on the website provided no details of where it should be sent once completed.


Eastleigh’s council fails to notify Bishopstoke parish of planning applications – parish chair declares: ‘We are not impressed’

Eastleigh News, 16 May 2019: Bishopstoke Parish Council have complained that Eastleigh Borough Council have failed to send them notifications of planning applications in the parish. At last night’s meeting of Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Horton Heath Local Area Committee the chair of Bishopstoke Parish Council – Councillor Sue Toher (pictured) – addressed the local area borough councillors on behalf of the Bishopstoke Parish Planning Committee. Cllr Toher told the committee that since last July there had been seven instances when the Parish Council had either not received a notification or else they had received notifications for Fair Oak Parish council rather than Bishopstoke – in one case she said, they had received an application eight days after the closing date.


Why Eastleigh’s Local Plan is bad for the planet

ADD UPDATE, 9 May 2019: We have no right to complain about other countries destroying their environment when we are planning to do the same here in Eastleigh through the council’s proposed Local Plan…

A report published on Monday from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (IPBES), an agency of the United Nations, warns that one million animal and plant species across the world are now threatened with extinction. The report has taken three years to compile and draws on 15,000 reference materials.

From the bees that pollinate our crops to the forests that hold back flood waters, the key factor in the threat to the natural world is human activity ravaging the very ecosystems that support human society.

The destruction of rain forests (between 1980 and 2000, 100 million hectares of tropical rain forest have been cleared to make way for cattle and palm oil plantations), the expansion of cities (the world’s population has doubled since 1970) and the pollution of our seas (remember the plastic in David Attenborough’s film?) are combining to destroy the habitats of plants and creatures at all levels.

What has this got to do with the Eastleigh Local Plan? Well, we may not be able to do a lot on the global stage – but we can prevent the wanton destruction of our local environment and biodiversity. The massive housing development proposed by Eastleigh Borough Council in their draft Local Plan, which includes 2,000 more houses than actually required by government targets, would obliterate some of the most attractive landscape in the borough, ravage several areas of precious ancient woodland and cause havoc with the eco-systems of the River Itchen. And, like the destruction in other faraway parts of the world, it is being driven by human self-interest, politics and greed.

There may be a need for additional low-cost housing in and around Eastleigh, but this plan does not actually provide it. There are other options available to Eastleigh Borough Council, which it has not even seriously considered.

The proposed site is located in an area that the council’s own research has identified as having the greatest biodiversity in the borough. And the Plan’s out-of-town location away from public transport could have been calculated to maximise car usage and so carbon dioxide emissions. All this from a council that boasts it is tackling climate change.

Although we might not be able to save the rainforests of South America and the wetlands of Africa, we can at least prevent the wanton extinction of our own ecosystems here in South Hampshire, by insisting that the authority comes up with a better, more eco-friendly Local Plan.

(The image accompanying this article is of a White Admiral butterfly in Upper Barn Copse, one of the ancient woodlands that Eastleigh’s Local Plan severely threatens, and would ultimately destroy.)


How Eastleigh’s Local Plan threatens one of the borough’s finest heritage assets

ADD UPDATE, 7 May 2019: Allbrook hosts one of Eastleigh’s most valuable heritage assets, but little has been done to promote its awareness. Now the council’s Local Plan threatens to degrade it further.

Allbrook Farmhouse was less than ten years old when artist Mary Beale and her husband Charles moved there in 1665 to escape the Great Plague in London. Unusually, it was Mary who earned the family’s living, from her portrait painting, while Charles supported her by managing the studio. This relationship is reflected in Mary’s ‘Essay on Friendship’, promoting equality of the sexes, also written in Allbrook. 

Her self-portrait, now in the National Portrait Gallery, was painted there and it is likely that many of her sitters’ portraits were painted there too. Quite possibly they included some fairly notable people of that era. We know that Izaak Walton, friend of the poet John Donne and author of ‘The Compleat Angler’, visited her at Allbrook. The rare survival of this location where Mary Beale lived and worked adds a further historical significance to Allbrook Farmhouse well beyond that of comparable Grade II listed buildings in the Eastleigh district. Yet oddly, to the casual passer-by, it is just another old building.    

History has not been kind to Mary’s former home. The Itchen Navigation, and later the railway embankment, were built within metres of it. Various alterations, neglect and the 20th century theft of its entrance door have detracted from its original appearance. In 1995 it escaped being turned into a pub restaurant. The 2008 Planning Inquiry saw opposition from, among others, Sir Roy Strong and Tracey Emin but, despite the claim that Allbrook Farmhouse was the only known artist’s studio from the 17th century still existing in Britain, its immediate environment was further drastically altered. The old farmhouse is now hemmed in by a new housing estate hard up against the property. The house itself was renovated and refurbished. Whether the racking where Mary dried her canvases survived these renovations is uncertain.  

The latest affront to this unique piece of Britain’s artistic heritage is the proposed building of the North Bishopstoke Link Road in Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan.  This road scheme would involve closing off Allbrook Hill at the bottom and re-routing traffic behind the existing houses along a new road leading to Junction 12 on the M3. 

Originally conceived with a roundabout junction with Pitmore Road, it now proposes a tee junction. It appears that without the roundabout to slow it down, more and faster traffic from the motorway will then flow into the narrower section past Allbrook Farmhouse and require new signage and physical protection for the under-sized Allbrook railway bridge. 

Despite this, the legal requirement for an assessment of the impact on the setting of this listed building appears to have been ignored. Yet, similar to paragraph 129 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Eastleigh’s Local Plan policy DM12 states that development within the setting of a heritage asset will only be permitted where “it does not harm or detract from the significance or special interest of the asset, and sustains and enhances its special character and qualities. The more important the asset, the greater the weight that should be accorded to this criterion.”  It is hard to see how this can have been adhered to here if the ‘significance’, ‘special interest’ and ‘importance’ have not been assessed. Meanwhile the Local Plan seems almost deliberately to make no mention at all about Mary Beale.

Although its historical connection with her makes this Grade II listed building a particularly important part of Eastleigh’s heritage, this has been completely ignored by the council. While Eastleigh hosts a blue plaque in honour of comedian Benny Hill, and even a plaque to the somewhat obscure Noel Croucher, founding chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the presence here of the pioneering 17th century artist and feminist, Mary Beale, has had no such recognition. 

At a time when women like Mary Beale are seen as forerunners for the feminist movement, this is a regrettable but perhaps not unintentional omission, given the implications the current Local Plan has for her old home.

Of the eleven published Grade II listed buildings of the same period as Allbrook Farmhouse located in the Eastleigh District, only Allbrook Farmhouse has its associated history included as a specific reason for it being listed. It is doubtful if any other listed buildings in the Borough, of any period, are of such importance artistically and culturally as Allbrook Farmhouse. 

Most councils would be proud of this asset, but not, it seems, Eastleigh.