Botley Parish Council have urged all Botley residents to respond to the consultation on Eastleigh’s draft local plan.
At their Parish Council meeting this evening, Botley’s Parish Councillors discussed the Councils formal response to the Boroughs new plan, but concluded that more work was needed before it could be submitted. It will be discussed again on 20th December. The closing date for submissions is 3rd January.
During this evenings discussion, both of Botley’s Borough Councillors spoke against Eastleigh Borough Council’s plans to develop 1400 new homes at Boorley Green.
Cllr Cathie Fraser, who lives in Boorley Green, has been consistently against the Boorley Green development, formally recording her opposition in Eastleigh’s Cabinet meeting of 15th September and voting against it in the full Council meeting of 13th October.
Cllr Rupert Kyrle, who is also recorded as voting against the local plan in that full Council meeting, commented;
“There are significant issues with Boorley Green. We need to say why the 1400 homes doesn’t work, but we shouldn’t do the planners job for them by trying to find alternative sites.”
The Parish Councillors were unanimously against the Boorley Green development and generally supportive of the principle of small-scale development around Botley, including Eastleigh Borough’s plans for 300 homes in Winchester Street, with Cllr Cathie Fraser saying that;
“Demographics show Botley’s population is ageing. It needs a younger population to make it a sustainable community. The Winchester Street development will help to bring younger people into the parish.”
The Councillors also felt that the official form for submissions to the consultation exercise was very “user-unfriendly”, requiring respondents to cross-refer their comments to the draft-plan document itself, but they strongly urged individuals to persevere and to make their representations to the Borough.
Cllr Fraser further commented;
Where respondents cannot easily cross-refer to the draft plan, the planners will take written submissions. They will then attribute the points made to the appropriate parts of the draft plan.
Looking to the future, the Council felt that it might need some consultancy to help fight the Borough’s plans for Botley. The parish precept was therefore set to include £15K which would be reserved for that purpose. Chairman Cllr Colin Mercer reported to the Council that on a Band D property, that would amount to an additional £2.21 on Botley’s portion of the Council Tax next year.
So a side effect of Eastleigh’s planning exercise is that Botley’s Council Tax-payers have to pay more next year, so that the Parish can use consultants (if needed) to help them fight the Borough Council’s plans for Botley…
Cllr Kyrle successfully argued against the fund being any larger, a figure of £25k had been suggested, saying that it wouldn’t be reasonable in the current economic climate and adding that;
“There are some people in Botley, a minority, who think that the 1400 new homes in Boorley Green are a good idea. A larger increase in the precept [for this consultancy] would not be fair to them.”