House: Tory plans for SDA ‘Misleading’


Keith House

The Leader of Eastleigh Council, Keith House, has branded Conservative opposition to the building of 6000 new homes in the Botley SDA as “ Hollow at best, misleading at worst’.

He has also claimed that the Conservative leader of Hampshire County Council, Ken Thornber could “kill the project off with one signature” by committing not to sell land, crucial to the development.

Mr House wrote to ‘Eastleigh News’ following an invitation to ‘put the record straight’ in reply to claims made at hustings on Tuesday. Both the Conservative PPC Maria Hutchings and Leo Barraclough for Labour were critical of the actions of Liberal Democrat controlled Eastleigh Council and in particular, the role of the Keith House both as Council leader and as a member of various other authorities connected with the planning application.

Mr House insisted that his opposition was a matter of public record which showed he had:

  • drafted and moved the motions in 2005 and 2008 that opposed the SDA and..
  • as Lib Dem Group Leader at Hampshire County Council he had backed a motion calling on HCC to commit not to sell land in their ownership which formed part of the SDA.

Mr House also said he believes that the SDA proposal would fail the same feasibility tests that the proposed Allington Lane site had failed and that this would result in the SDA plan for Botley NOT going ahead.

“The process at the moment is of testing feasibility. The PUSH documentation, which first emerged from County planners in July 2005 was about identifying areas to test, not about identifying areas to agree. All authorities regardless of politics went along with this approach as it was a Government requirement so to do. It was testing that killed off the 4000 home project at Allington Lane despite HCC pushing hard for it even through to the Borough’s Local Plan Inquiry. The planning inspector agreed with Eastleigh over the County. I fully expect the same process to kill off the SDA. Until we have robust evidence, a planning inspector would ride rough-shod over any attempt by the Borough Council to remove the SDA from what is at the moment a statutory plan. “

On Tuesday night both Maria Hutchings and George Hollingbery for the Conservatives, told voters that their new planning green paper would scrap the entire South East Plan along with the Botley SDA.

Responding Keith House observed:

“(The) new Conservative planning policy announced recently in “Open Source Planning”, their Green Paper, would retain exactly the same numbers for South Hampshire as in the South East Plan, even after scrapping the Plan as a whole. So Conservative opposition is hollow at best and misleading at worst.”

Mr House submitted the following extracts from Council resolution which he claims shows the opposition of the Council to the SDA.

EBC Full Council – October 2005 Resolution

Council supports the approach set out in the report to Cabinet in paragraphs 31 to 33 subject to the comments below and specifically:

1. Rejects the approach adopted by Government that requires district-level housing numbers to be set out in the South East Plan before environmental, social, economic and transport studies have demonstrated where growth can sustainably be located;

2. Until these studies have been completed and analysed –

(i) calls on Hampshire County Council to refuse to put forward district-level housing numbers to the South East Regional Assembly;

(ii) calls on the South East Regional Assembly to refuse to put forward district-level numbers to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; and

(iii) does not endorse the specific targets in paragraphs 31.8 to 31.10

3. On this basis rejects the proposed Strategic Development Area “north/north east of Hedge End”;

4. Notes that the original PUSH vision was to achieve economic growth in South Hampshire to lift prosperity for the existing community of South Hampshire by increasing skills, regenerating older areas, improving transport infrastructure and minimising in-migration to the area;

5. Further notes that the PUSH approach assumes that where greenfield development proves necessary this should be focused on Southampton and Portsmouth through improving transport corridors and, for each city, a balance of growth to the west and east – and notes that the consultation proposals do not achieve this;

6. Restates its commitment to a South Hampshire Green Belt to prevent our towns and villages merging into a ‘Solent City’ and calls on the County Council to support a South Hampshire Green Belt in the South East Plan; and

7. Requests Eastleigh’s Members of Parliament to take up these issues with Government.

EBC Full Council – October 2008 Resolution

“That Council resolves that the schedule of proposed Borough Council responses set out at Appendix 1 to the Head of Regeneration and Planning Policy’s report forms the basis of the Council’s response to the Secretary of State’s Proposed Changes to the draft South East Plan.

Council recognises the concerns of the local community about the imposition by the Government of housing figures and specific locations for development through a top-down planning process that gives little weight to local views, and will work to ensure that if this development is imposed it demands the provision of infrastructure first, strengthened critical success factors, and real respect for the character of the locality and its environment.

Council further resolves that its response reiterates its policy objection, rejecting the proposed Strategic Development Area (SDA) north/north-east of Hedge End, in line with its policy statement of 20 October 2005 noting that,

(i) the proposed change by Government to delete Strategic Gaps from the South East Plan undermines the fundamental PUSH and Eastleigh Borough Council policy to avoid the coalescence of settlements, which in turn challenges the validity of the SDA approach; and that

(ii) technical studies to date have failed to demonstrate that sustainable transport links can be provided from the SDA area of search to Southampton; that environmental concerns can be addressed, and have failed to demonstrate that this location is viable for a sustainable settlement of the size proposed without compromising the separate identity of settlements, in line with the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) Strategy.

It seems to me whoever wins the election, the planned SDA plan at Botley is destined to hit the buffers. Would you agree ?

  12 comments for “House: Tory plans for SDA ‘Misleading’

  1. charliefarley
    April 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Keith House is hardly one to talk about being misleading.

    The lib dems are only against the SDA in public meetings but they volunteered the area at a private meeting.

    They also offered up the Hamble peninsula (why else do you think the Car boot sale owner is supporting the lib dems – he wants to sell off the land for development when the conservatives stop the SDA.

    As for Allington Lane Keith House was all for it until the public objected so tried to blame the conservatives on Hants county council who had inherited the plan from none other than the lib dems.

    You can’t fool all of the people all of the time keith.

    • Graham Hunter
      April 12, 2010 at 10:36 am

      Yet again Keith Missinforms.
      It was he and his partner Ms L Bloom when members of SEDA & Push in 2005 proposed the Botley SDA.
      This is now common public knowledge. The Conservative HCC having NOTHING to do with it.
      Why was it the residents of Botley & Boorley Green had to find out about the SDA
      on their own? Why did not their Liberal Democrat Councillors advise them of it and PROPERLEY represent them… I’ll tell you why… Keith House told them to keep quiet, as they do now when asked a direct question re the SDA. The leaflets they produce are full of bull, and mean nothing.

      Mr House and the Lib Dems of Eastleigh need to understand their days are numbered as the peolpe they are supposed to represent are fed up with their arogant, dictorial & missleading style.

  2. Dickie C
    April 12, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I attended the Hampshire County Council Meeting on 18th February 2010 at which item 13 Motion C on the Agenda dealt with this SDA and the motion submitted by Councillor Rupert Kyrle and seconded by Councillor David Simpson.Quote: “This Council welcomes statements from both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives that they would abolish the South East Plan targets and return planning policy to democratically elected local councils”
    “Further, this Council resolves that it will seek to reinstate gaps between local communities as an essential policy priority to prevent urban sprawl and that to promote and encourage local sustainable farming, the County Council resolves forthwith not to sell off additional county farm estate for housing and commercial development.”
    Councillor Ken Thornber, seconded by Councillor Davidovitz,put down an amendment to this Motion C to the effect that the second paragraph be amended after the words ‘urban sprawl’, to read:-“recognising that more than 50% of County Council landholdings are held for such purposes and also for Conservation, Recreational and other Strategic purposes such as coastal protection. Of the remaining land holdings much is farmed by tenant farmers and, as a matter of policy, the County Council does not sell such land over the heads of its tenant farmers.
    There are no plans for the sale of any Farm land at this time.”
    I have reproduced the actual words used in this motion so that others can see what transpired at this meeting. Councillor Ken Thornber did go to great lengths to explain why he had put down this amendment and, if I remember rightly, had the original wording gone through, it would have totally excluded the County Council from ANY building in the future, no matter how necessary to the local community. Councillor Davidovitz did put it to Councillor Keith House that it was he who put forward the Hedge End/Hedge End North area for the building of this SDA in the first place and this without proper consultation with the local community.Councillor Rupert Kyrle would not associate himself with the wording of the amended Motion C and therefore opposed it. The amended Motion C was subsequently passed on a majority vote.
    In the light of the Conservatives assurance that they would scrap this and other proposed SDA’s, together with the Quangos that go with them if elected to government, why has the Eastleigh Borough Council proceeded with feasibility testing, which Keith House now seems to expect to fail anyway?

  3. Matthew Myatt
    April 12, 2010 at 11:26 am

    So let’s see if we understand you correctly Mr. House..

    You WERE on the committee that APPROVED the Botley Plan.!! Your Lib Dem Council will benefit hugely from thousands of pounds in developer contributions if the plan goes ahead.!! Your Lib Dem council will raise over half a million pounds a year in new council tax revenue from these new homes.!!

    So let’s be totally clear. You have been caught AGREEING to this plan as it will be good for the local Lib Dem party but your not to blame as its the Tories fault. Hmmm.!!

    As for HCC being able to stop this plan and a stroke of a pen, what about YOU being a man and standing up for local people by saying NO outright at the start, rather than your silly and BARMY, Yes but, No but..!!

    These comments from Keith House are a joke. Lest we forget his BARMY plans for Grantham Green. His evil backing of the MURDER of Sid and the THIEFT of PUBLIC land in the town centre. O, and what about the THIEFT and selling of allotments to flat builders.??

    Mr House has a habit of giving away OUR LAND and then pretending that his was others that made him do it.. HONEST GOV.!!

    Not this time Mr. House… YOUR BUSTED.!!!

    Eastleigh Borough and its people have woken up to your misinformation and we will take it no more. Do you really think we cannot see the underhand deal that is going on with the Car Boot Land next to Tesco.??

    Could I just ask if permission was sort for the placement of so many signs on the public highway outside the Car Boot Land BEGGING people to vote Lib Dem. I Wonder.??

  4. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    April 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    It seems to me the Conservatives are saying if they win the Election then the Botley SDA is scrapped.

    Keith House is saying if Labour win, the SDA will be binned as its bound to fail feasibility tests.

    Either way, it seems the SDA will NOT go ahead.

    Surely this is a result?

    Although this is good news for the people of Botley, the question remains.

    There are 5,000 people on Eastleigh’s housing list.

    Where is that housing going to go?

    • Graham Hunter
      April 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      If the SDA is dead …. (It is Not as Eastleigh Borough Council will NOT kill it, and continue with feasability studies at great expense. And if approved will make a fortune from the proceeds.).

      Then house the people on housing waiting lists in homes that are empty in the Borough… there are plenty of them.
      Also the country has 700,000 empty homes in the UK. So why build in this congested and beutiful part of the country.

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        April 12, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        The suggestion that private property owners should be compelled to sell or rent their properties to people on the
        Council housing list is an interesting one, but I can’t see anyone adopting this as Party Policy!

        • charliefarley
          April 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm

          If you read the documentation on the SDA 93% of the new homes are for inward migration and not intended for local residents so the 5000 on Eastleigh’s waiting list won’t get a look in.

  5. Matthew Myatt
    April 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    It seems to me the Conservatives are saying if they win the Election then the Botley SDA is scrapped. Keith House is saying if Labour win, the SDA will be binned as its bound to fail feasibility tests.Either way, it seems the SDA will NOT go ahead.Surely this is a result?Although this is good news for the people of Botley, the question remains. There are 5,000 people on Eastleigh’s housing list.Where is that housing going to go?  (Quote)

    I do not agree.. This is NOT about where should we build much needed new homes. It is about OUR local council being HONEST with the very people they are meant to be standing up for.

    Clearly this shows that the current leadership and council of the Eastleigh Borough are not being honest with its people and are no longer fit to serve the Borough’s best interests.

    Housing will always be a issue until the end of time. Bent councils on the other hand need to be put out of business TODAY..!!

    This is about HONESTY and TRUST, and you can honesty trust that the Lib Dems do not give a hoot about the people of Eastleigh Borough..


    • graham hunter
      April 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      well said. The Lib Dems in Eastleigh are unfit to govern the borough of Eastleigh.

      Keith House manipulates the councillors ( Rupert Kyrle… his lap dog is a good example… he is locally referred to as the ‘ Cardboard Man’ …… stands up and says nothing!!!

  6. Bob M
    April 14, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Mr Huhne, in a letter you have sent to voters you state that the Conservative Candidate has taken no action on the 6000 home development at Boorley Green.

    Mrs Hutchings has done plenty. She was at the first public meeting (you weren’t), she took a group of residents up to parliament to meet the shadow housing minister, she has openly stated that the conservative government will scrap the South East plan and abolish the quango behind promoting this development and finally she publicly exposed the fact that it was your own Lib Dem council that put the area forward for inclusion in the development plan.

    It is you who have taken no action other than to cover up your own party’s complicity in the development.

    As a former Lib Dem voter I am disgusted that such a senior party member as yourself can be a participant in such a grubby cover up and negative smear campaign against a political opponent.

    I was aware of the negative tactics regularly employed by the Eastleigh party but had hoped it was just a local problem.

    I will be voting for Maria Hutchings on May 6th and also for Jerry Hall against Cathie Frazer, who has do nothing for local residents on this issue except refuse to talk to us about it. I urge all Botley and Boorley Green residents who want to protect their local area to do likewise.


    • Dickie C
      April 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm

      Well said Bob M!
      Perhaps a letter to Chris Huhne on his disgraceful letter to Voter’s wouldn’t go amiss and I am sure there will be other hitherto Lib Dem voters like you who will now vote for Maria Hutchings. Cathie Fraser hasn’t been much better with all the rubbish she has been putting out on her ‘Focus’ leaflets and Jerry Hall should also benefit from all that too.

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