Botley SDA back on

botley golf

Chancellor George Osborne wants to save Botley Golf Course form the 'forces of Stagnation'

George Osborne has announced he will tackle the ‘forces of stagnation’ by ripping up planning laws to allow the development of housing on sites like the former Botley SDA.

Speaking during the emergency economics debate in this week’s recalled parliament, the chancellor said housing development is needed to stimulate the nation’s economy, reinforcing a message from the department of Communities and Local Government that the presumption for planning applications would in future be ‘yes’ – despite the provisions of the forthcoming Localism bill.

Controversial housing plans like the Botley SDA are now being revived by councils who are scrambling to identify sites to comply with the government’s Draft National Planning Policy Framework.

George Osborne’s ’ forces of stagnation’ jibe would appear to be directed against the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England who have claimed that the loosening of planning laws will put large swathes of greenbelt land under threat.

Eastleigh Borough Council is currently conducting a public consultation into the future of housing development in the borough where there are nearly 6000 people on the housing list.

Shortly after the general Election the council shelved the unpopular Strategic Development  which would have seen 6000 houses built in the Botley area but the council now says it needs to build almost 10,000 new homes in the borough by 2029 in order to meet demand.

With the majority of brownfield sites either already used or earmarked for development the council says it has choice but to consider Greenfield sites – which in the short term could mean 2,500 built in the disputed Botley/Boorley Green area.

Paul Miner of the CPRE said:

“Current planning laws favour the reuse of brownfield sites but the new rules effectively remove the protection for greenfield land – the countryside.
“Developers will go for the areas where the local plan has identified a need for housing as it will be harder for the council to refuse permission. Any builder refused permission will simply appeal, citing the local housing shortage.”

In Leicestershire last week, developers won an appeal to build 230homes despite locals unanimously rejecting the plan.

An inspector appointed by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said the “pressing need” for more houses in the area outweighed the need to protect green spaces.

Although the government is showing the stick to councils  who do not have a housing strategy in place, it is also offering a juicy carrot in the form of  a ‘New Homes Bonus which’ would see councils who permit building rewarding with cash payments equal to the council tax raised on new builds – payments which would be worth hundreds of thousand of pounds to Eastleigh Borough Council.

At a packed meeting of the Council last month over 100 campaigners from the Botley area once again put the case to the council for the preservation of local greenbelt only to be met by accusations of nimbyism from Lib Dem members who proceeded to unanimously vote in favour of development on the previous SDA site.

During same meeting John Milne of Eastleigh Conservative Association raised concerns that the public consultation was flawed and reminded the council that their previous public consultation – into the possibility of a directly elected mayor – only produced 13 responses and although they were largely in favour the recommendation was ignored.

Critics of the council’s latest consultation are objecting to responses being limited to one per household and are concerned that the public are only being invited to choose between a site in Allington Lane or Boorly Green – they are unable to vote on proposed housing schemes on Stoneham Park or Woodhouse Lane.

Campaigners will be out in force in Botley today drumming support for a possible local referendum.

Photo: Peter Facey

  16 comments for “Botley SDA back on

  1. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    August 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Opposition to housing development is unpatriotic.

    We have to save the Nation’s economy.

    BPAG,the CPRE and the National Trust are terrorists.

  2. Graham Hunter
    August 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    It should be noted that it is EBC that are bringing back the SDA, or son of SDA in their own right. They are NOT being directed by the governement to do this but are acting on their own… Keith House said this I believe on the 14th July council meeting.
    They seem to be determined to beat the deadline when the SDA will be finally killed off when the localism bill which will become law in November this year, that also gives residents more say in planning… not being dictated to.

    Botley & Boorley Green Residents are already giving a massive NO to the proposals, we have spoken to many of them, they are applaled at how they are being treated.

    The so called Consultation is a non democratic joke and insult, to us all.
    Why only one person per household can vote? what happened to the electoral role being used?
    Why no option to say NO to both proposals?
    Guess whe know why the decision is already made!

  3. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    August 15, 2011 at 12:58 am

    The government haven’t instructed EBC to build at Botley – but they did direct all authorities to get an Local Development Framework in place – identifiying local sites suitable for sustainable development over the next five years or face the consequences.

    BPAG have acknowledged this on thier site

    “BPAG also appreciates the legal requirement for the LDF”

    It is the government driving this proces.

    There also seems to be some misunderstanding locally regards the effect of the localism bill on development planning.

    When the bill was first announced it was trailed in the press as a ‘nimbys charter’.

    However there have been MANY amendments since then. If you are reading about the Localism bill on the web you need to check the date of the document you are reading first.

    What I have read of The Bill suggest to me it seeks to help and encourage communities to plan for new developments NOT oppose them.

    As for the right to hold referendums locally, they will either not apply to planning matters or else will not be binding. Loopholes exsist to allow councils to refuse them – for example, on cost or if a consultation process has already taken place.
    Angus Walker, partner at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, said that the proposed government amendments would give local authorities:

    “considerable scope for refusing to allow referendums that they don’t like to take place”.

    “It will become much more difficult for local people to force a referendum to be held that is not welcomed by the local authority,”

    The ‘Localism Agenda’ website published this comment a couple of days ago:

    “Certainly, the excitement with which Conservative MPs and their constituents greeted the Localism Bill has all but vanished. The NPPF is the final realisation that the Government’s (or at least the Treasury’s) agenda is now avowedly pro-[sustainable] growth and that notions of neighbourhoods being able to block all development in their locality are little more than pipe dreams”

    From the same website this might help explain the thinking:

    My guess is it won’t be enough to say there should be a referendum because the consultation was flawed – because there is still the statutory planning application process itself.

    According to the Times last week the sound of the penny dropping can be heard in Conservative Associations around the shires and the Tories are facing the prospect of grassroots rebellion.

    DCLG minister Bob Neil was in the press last week claiming opposition to the planning shake up from the National Trust and the Campaign for the protection of Rural England was being orchestrated by left wingers!

    I understand the LDF has to be approved by the planning inspectorate so perhaps there might still be an opportunity for a full public enquiry.

  4. Anne Romaine
    August 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Er… aren’t the Lib Dems in control of EBC and also partners in the Coalition government. Whichever way you look at it (local or govt level) their fingers are firmly stuck in the pie!

  5. John Edwards
    August 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    The coalition government’s claim that they want a big society where we can all get involved, probably did not consider public opposition to the housing development that has been proposed by Eastleigh Borough Council and the concerted effort that is under way by local residents in the Botley area. So Dave’s master plan is flawed then!

    How can people only be given a choice of two options when it is clear that a potential third option has been left out of the equation?

    It is overly clear that EBC wants to steamroller their proposals through with an undemocratic process thinly disguised as a public consultation, which constitutes as a mandate from the electorate who demand additional housing. Two choices of A and B is not democracy.

    Having a consultation period during the summer when many people are probably enjoying summer and being treated to a diverting media output such as the euro zone bailouts, phone hacking and the riots may have lulled the planners into a state of complacency that nothing much will happen and we’ll get our way. Of course, having statements from inspectors’ appointed by Eric Pickles declaring that a “pressing need” for more houses in the area outweighed the need to protect green spaces can only fuel EBC to either ignore or roll over residents opposition.

    Today, I have submitted to EBC, a response to the housing proposals from the newly formed branch of The English Democrats here in Eastleigh. We have suggested that an Option C be included. Briefly, it calls for a sensible timetable to review the options A & B at length. Furthermore, redevelopment of brown field areas should also be reviewed as to how existing land usage can be maximised rather than destroying green spaces to accommodate human expansion. A good example of maximising existing land use can be seen in The Falkland Drive and the old Pirelli site in Eastleigh.

    Furthermore, in line with our own party policy, I have included within Option C, the following. Within the framework of the consultation, it is suggested that a local referendum is held to give the people of the borough a say in the future developments that will have long term ramifications such as the permanent erosion of much prized green spaces. For too long, development along with many other matters of widespread public interest has been undertaken against the wishes of local people.

    As someone who grew up in a part of London that borders onto the green belt, I know how development can alter and scar, forever, a local landscape. I have lived in the Solent area for just over twenty years and will help fight development and encroachment onto Greenfield and rural areas. There are always alternatives.

  6. Peter Jones
    August 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Surely there is just as much chance of Allington Lane being developed as Botley?

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      August 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

      I believe it’s equally likely BOTH sites will eventually be developed.

      We are going to build our way out of the recession.

      • John Edwards. English Democrats
        August 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm

        How can we build our way out of recession with more housing? The only way we will get out of recession is to create wealth through expanding existing businesses, and starting up new businesses that sell goods and services at home and abroad.

        When you consider that this and the previous government have allowed jobs to leave our shores, the last locally being Bendicks in Winchester, you realise that we have an uphill struggle.

        In the USA for example, Obama has spent $ billions on public works, to what avail? Real jobs in the private sector is the way forward out of recession.

        • mm
          Eastleigh Xpress
          August 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

          “How can we build our way out of recession with more housing?”

          Ask George 😉

  7. John Edwards. English Democrats
    August 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Peter Jones is quite right when he says that Allington Lane has just as much chance as being developed as Botley. What may go against such development is the lack of infrastructure to support development. EBC say a link road from the Chickenhall Lane area is a solution to increased traffic. They do not offer an insight into how local amenities would be provided except to say that over time the new development would have to provide its shops, schools and employment. Comforting words if you have faith in EBC. Its clear many do not. We need to stand together if we dont want to see green spaces dissapear forever. Afterall, there are alternatives for development if only in other parts of the county.

  8. Anne Romaine
    August 16, 2011 at 10:56 am

    John, it’s not so many years ago that EBC worked out a comprehensive plan for the town of Allington. According to EBC planners this would be resurrected (if necessary) rather than start from scratch on any development in Allington Lane. I suspect that as the Deputy Leader of EBC’s ward is not a million miles from Allington Lane that this location would not be the council’s first choice!

  9. Peter Jones
    August 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Lets look at the facts.
    The Boorley Green site is politically endorsed by EBC and PUSH, is feasible, deliverable and aligned to the PUSH & HCC transport strategy.
    Allington Lane requires significant infrastructure to make it a sustainable. The CLLR alone has an estimated cost of £40-50m as well as roads and bridges across significant stretches or railway. It also has significant flooding issues.

  10. Brian Norgate
    August 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    The bigger picture here is what negotiations have EBC had, which you need to know prior to negotiating any further developments, there are further known plans which would impact several sites and the scale of the total potential build which have not been declared, this includes initial talks with other local councils.

    Its interesting the Democratic Libdems have given only a one sided limited options for the developments. what great negotiators they are
    and how democratic is that.

    Two sites are being railroaded through, Chestnut Avenue and Woodhouse lane, false claims by the lib dems about Government plans(the usual lib tactic) hide its the Lib dems in Eastleigh voting for these poorly negotiated developments by the Lib dems.

    Wildern Mill who took EBC to the High court where they lost £400k of ratepayers money and £600k of 106 developers contributions show how bad the Lib dems are, only special negotiators could achieve that amount of incompetence. not many people took notice of this but it goes to the heart of what is wrong in EBC, Officers negotiated a deal and depending on what you believe one person made the decision to abandon the scheme against the officers advice
    even Justice Etherton in the High found that hard to swallow as a fact. Justice Etherton said EBCs appeal “wasted public time and money”

    Thats one of the highest ranking law officers in the Lands verdict on EBC negotiating ability.

    Look at Dowds farm, Pirellis and The Caustons site why would we ask soemone who negotiated 3 bad developments to negotiate another.

    if you remember the Libs promised no to build on the Green gap between Eastleigh and Southampton, South street has already been built on and two more sites will be built on,
    but thats a lib dem promise, they say it to get elected but it does not last very long.

    for example the first parking permit, the library at Hamble, the Eastleigh tenants agreement of 1997, we could go on.

    I have the original plans for Allington and other developments and i have been contacted by
    a couple of residents groups who i am helping
    and attending their meetings. The SDA residents
    came up with some really useful information which should not be ignored, I addressed one of their SDA meetings, I said to them please say not that they didnt want the development but also to stop the SDA they should ask for what they would want there for it to go ahead, this meant that they dictated the conditions for their own area before they accepted some one else with a poor record of negotiating to do it on their behalf, this tactic would prevent the SDA being built as much as a campaign just saying NO.

    Thats what everyone has to do during these negototiations. a double whammy of for and against tactics, you then can dictate to the negotiators.

    But lets get all the information on the potential developments published, what do EBC know, when did they know it and when are they going to tell the people of Eastleigh.

    Then we have a fighting chance to get the best deal for Eastleigh and ourselves.

  11. Matthew
    August 25, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I live in Fair Oak and I am equally worried about these potential developments. I am wondering perhaps we need to create a Facebook group named “No to 9400 homes in Eastleigh” Perhaps with enough support a peaceful protest could be arranged?

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      August 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Go for it. Let us know if you do I’m sure you will get support from many who visit here.
      Not sure I would lend mine though as I believe we need to see a correction in house prices and an additional 9,400 new ones should help to make homes more affordable.
      For me the question is where we should be putting them.
      I am not opposed to any house building in the Borough – though there are those who are.

      • August 26, 2011 at 9:25 am

        You’re right. There is a national housing shortage for lots of reasons. But even Shelter say that new housing has to have the support of existing communities. The Lib Dems have alienated a lot of people with the way they have gone about this – no consultation on the Woodhouse Lane and Chestnut Ave locations, treating people like mugs with their “Have Your Say” leaflet, and reversing their previous opposition to SDAs and MDAs. It is not too late for them to engage with the local communities and come up with a plan B:

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