Eastleigh Conservatives have received another visit from a Tory ‘big hitter’ in the form of Party Chairman Eric Pickles, following in the footsteps of leader David Cameron, Theresa May, James Clappison and Sir George Young – all of whom have visited the borough recently to show support for Maria Hutchings in her election push.
The Tory campaign supremo met canvassers at the Pear Tree Inn, Boorley Green along with Maria Hutchings and Council candidate for Botley, Jerry Hall as they prepared to go out on the doorsteps.
Eric Pickles boosted the activists’ morale by telling the packed bar:
“This is a once in a generation election in the kind of area which will determine its outcome. I have no doubt that if Maria Hutchings can win this constituency then David Cameron will definitely be prime minster”
Both Maria Hutchings and Jerry Hall were keen to explain how local Conservative opposition to the proposed Botley housing development had won them many new supporters in the area, several of whom would be out canvassing that evening.
One Boorley Green resident who gave his name as ‘David’ explained:
“I am a countryman and I don’t want to see our local farmland built on”
“90% of the people that would live in the new Eco Town would be from outside the area. This new development is not to the benefit of local people at all.”
“I am certain the Conservatives will put a stop to this”
The Conservatives claim that it was the Liberal Democrat controlled council that proposed the use of land at Botley for extra housing and that only a vote for Maria Hutchings could halt its construction. They have recently published a planning green paper which promises to sweep away existing regional quangos along with strategic development areas.
Mrs. Hutchings said:
“If we win government we will devolve power back down to local people. There will be no central housing targets from government. Local people will decide where their housing will go and how many houses they want.”
However ‘The Home Builders Federation’, warned last week that Britain faced a housing crisis with a shortage of a million homes. They have criticised the plans saying that to allow locals a veto over house construction would only lead to costly delays and exacerbate the shortage:
“Everyone agrees there is a shortage of housing but nobody wants to see it on their doorstep”
Jerry Hall disagreed, claiming there were 700,000 empty houses in the country warning that:
“Once we have lost this piece of countryside – then it’s gone for good”