If you would like to delve deeper into the detail of what is happening, we thought these facts would be helpful:
- 5,200 new homes
- To give some perspective, this new development will be over 3.5 times the size of Colden Common (1,706 dwellings in 2011), or twice the size of Bishop’s Waltham.
- No more than 30% of the homes would be required to be “affordable”, according to documents already published by EBC.
- A new major link road – the so-called North Bishopstoke link road – connecting these developments with junction 12 of the M3, will run across the B3354, across Bishopstoke Lane and through Highbridge.
- The current proposal says the railway bridge at Allbrook would not need to be improved but evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
All representations made in response to EBC’s Local Plan consultations in February 2016 can be viewed here.
If options B and C are built, below are some examples of what will be impacted:
- The South Downs National Park
- Option C proposes building right up to the National Park boundary. The South Downs National Park Authority expressed concern about this change in their representation to the public consultation.
- 1 Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the River Itchen.
- The new road will go across the SSSI.
- Many tributaries of the Itchen flow from countryside that would be in option B. Developing this area would risk polluting the river. (The Test and Itchen Association and Otterbourne Conservation Group both expressed concerns in the public consultation.)
- 1 Special Area of Conservation, the River Itchen.
- 7 Sites of Ancient Natural Woodland: Stoke Park Wood, Crowdhill Copse, Upper Barn Copse, Hill Copse, Park Hills Wood, Hall Lands Copse and Tippers Copse.
- While it is unlikely the woods would be built upon, Upper Barn Copse would no longer be separated from Crowdhill Copse (and Stoke Park Woods) by fields, bridleways and hedgerows – rather by housing and the new link road.
- Surrounding Stoke Park Woods with housing would also impact its ecology and character.
- The proposed North Bishopstoke link road is also likely to impact Otterbourne Woods.
- The Woodland Trust not only expressed concern about these plans in the public consultation in February 2016, they also campaigned to encourage their members and supporters to make representations.
- The Woodland Trust has called the latest proposals “devastating for local wildlife populations”.
- 5 Sites of Importance to Nature Conservation.
- 7.4 miles of country footpath and bridleway, which would become routes through housing estates – or roads.
- The fish farm at Stoke Park, an important UK fishery businesses.
Results from the public consultation in February 2016 are especially revealing:
- Option A (smaller developments spread across the borough): 94 opposing; 60 supporting.
- Option B (North of Bishopstoke): 467 opposing 16 supporting.
- Option C (Mortimers Lane, joined to Option B): 125 opposing; 9 supporting.
- Option D (Allington Lane): 57 opposing; 45 supporting.
- Option E (West End): 39 opposing; 20 supporting.
- Option F (Botley): 71 opposing; 28 supporting.
- Option G (Hamble airfield): 260 opposing; 23 supporting.
- Option H (Chickenhall and Riverside): 12 opposing; 86 supporting.
For those interested in EBC’s process, including its intended timeline, click here. Although, since this September 2016 document, the timeline has been delayed (again), such that it is now:
(a) mid July – mid November 2017: Completion of final evidence.
(b) Autumn 2017: further public engagement.
(c) Mid December 2017: Cabinet / Council makes a decision on the definitive ‘proposed submission’ Plan.
(d) January / February 2018: formal consultation on the ‘proposed submission’ Local Plan.
(e) June 2018: submission of the Local Plan to the Secretary of State.
(f) June – November 2018: public examination of the Local Plan (including hearing sessions in Summer 2018 and potential consultation on ‘Main Modifications in Autumn 2018).
(g) early 2019: Council adopts the Local Plan.