Eastleigh Borough Council’s consultation roadshow rolled into Boorley Green today, one of the villages that is most controversially affected by the draft local plan for the Borough.
The plan includes a proposal to build 1400 homes and a new local centre on a 78 acre site to the North East of Boorley Green. A new road is intended to serve this development, bypassing the existing route through the centre of Botley.
The decision to build on this particular site, in preference to an alternative site in Allington Lane, was taken by Eastleigh Borough Council in September.
All seemed calm and civilised when Eastleigh News popped-in to the roadshow this evening, perhaps because none of the local Councillors were present at the time.
Feelings were still running high, but were not directed at the planners.
One anonymous Boorley Green resident said to Eastleigh News that she was disgusted with Keith House, amazed that Chris Huhne would not comment on local issues and felt thoroughly betrayed by the Lib Dems. Referring to the earlier “Homes for local people” consultation that tested public opinion before the decision to build at Boorley Green was taken, she said that;
The consultation was a sham, as the decision to build on Boorley Green had already been taken. Cllr House admitted at the end of the Council meeting, that he didn’t want to build on the alternative Allington Lane site, because of the additional costs of providing transport infrastructure.
The meeting that she was referring to was the full Cabinet meeting of 15th September 2011, for which the reasons for the decision to build at Boorley Green in preference to Allington Lane are minuted here.
Eastleigh News enquired about the 6000 households that are on Eastleigh’s housing list, asking if there was much list inflation and whether that had been taken into account when drawing up the plans for the Borough.
List inflation occurs, for example, when households register with several neighbouring Local Authorities in the hope of getting a home with one of them. If Winchester and Eastleigh have the same household on their respective housing lists, two homes are thought to be needed in southern Hampshire when in fact only one is required to cater for that household. The question is are we building more homes than is strictly necessary…?
The answer from Eastleigh’s planners was;
Yes there is some list inflation, but we don’t check our housing lists with those of neighbouring authorities to try to eliminate it. It is not just the housing register that determines how many houses are needed, natural change in population has an impact too. The housing that is specified in this plan includes some social housing, but considerably less than the 6000 households on Eastleigh’s housing register. List inflation consequently isn’t an important factor.
Eastleigh News then asked about the “strategic gaps” between villages. The draft local plan indicates that the site at Woodhouse Lane in Hedge End was formerly part of a strategic gap, but that site is now to be used to build 1000 homes. The Lib Dems claim to have saved the remaining strategic gaps, but how safe are they really…?
The answer from Eastleigh’s planners was;
They’re safe from development for the duration of the plan, which runs until 2029, but these areas could be allocated for development in a future plan.
Is there any way of securing these strategic gaps, by turning them into Country Parks perhaps, asked Eastleigh News…?
To which Eastleigh’s planners replied;
The difficulty is that it would cost millions to create a new Country Park. We’re actually quite well off for Country Parks in the Borough, with Itchen Valley, Manor Farm and the Royal Victoria Country Parks all being very accessible.
Eastleigh residents have four more opportunities to attend one of these roadshows and ask their own questions.
|Fair Oak: Fair Oak Village Hall (Grace Mears Room), Shorts Road, SO50 7EJ||Wednesday 23 November||2:00pm–8:00pm|
|West End: The Parish Centre, Chapel Road, SO30 3FE||Friday 25 November||2:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Eastleigh: St Francis Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JB||Saturday 26 November||10:00am-4:00pm|
|Botley: Youth Hall, High Street Recreation Ground, SO30 2ES||Monday 28 November||2:00pm – 8:00pm|
Comments on the draft local plan can be supplied at one of these meetings, via the online consultation form, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or via post to
Planning Policy & Design,Eastleigh Borough Council,Civic Offices,Leigh Road,Eastleigh,SO50 9YN.
The closing date for comments is 3rd January 2012