The Highways and Planning Committee at Hedge End Town Council was blessed with full attendance this evening. Everybody who was supposed to attend was there. No apologies were recorded or necessary.
Unlike Eastleigh’s Borough Councillors, who only just scraped together a quorum at the Policy & Performance Scrutiny Panel last week, Town and Parish Councillors receive no allowance (i.e. no remuneration) for their attendance at these meetings.
This evenings committee meeting considered just one planning application for redevelopment of a bungalow in Woodhouse Lane, a decision which had been deferred from the previous meeting.
The discussion this evening was particularly concerned with access from the site to “Bottom Copse” a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation which is now owned by Hedge End Town Council.
Eastleigh Borough Council’s biodiversity officer, Rachel Hardy, had previously advised the Town Council to consider whether the redevelopment would affect the use and purpose of the Copse, because of a gate that provides access to the copse from the site of the bungalow.
Chairman Cllr Cynthia Garton reported that the gate that currently exists was approved by Eastleigh Borough Council on a “personal and specific” licence issued to the previous owner of the bungalow and recommended that provided that the gate was removed and the boundary fenced-off, the development could go ahead.
There was some discussion of the timing of work to remove this point of access, and it was agreed that the licence needed to be formally revoked by Eastleigh Borough Council before any work could commence.
The committee subsequently agreed that there was no objection to the redevelopment of that bungalow subject to the conditions about the removal of the gate and fencing.
Curiously, despite the concern about access to the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (or SINC) from this proposed redevelopment of an existing Bungalow, there was no mention on the impact that the 1000 homes that are planned to be built a little further up Woodhouse Lane might have on the site. Plans which were controversially included included in Eastleigh’s draft local plan last year…
The Highways and Planning committee meeting lasted 10 minutes.
Speaking afterwards to Eastleigh News about the last weeks Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel, Cllr Welsh said;
My priority is always Hedge End. Only a few days previously to your story, I had said to the secretary that I cannot attend that scrutiny meeting if it is always arranged for the second Wednesday of the month. I’ve also said that if it cannot be arranged for a different time, I wouldn’t be able to serve on that panel.
In the subsequent meeting of the full Hedge End Town Council, Cllr Bruce Tennant mentioned in passing during his report from the County Council, that;
…part of the problem is that generally we don’t have enough people interested in being Councillors, or School Governors…
Perhaps part of the problem in Eastleigh, with poor attendance at meetings, is that too few Councillors are stretched to cover too many posts because there is generally a lack of interest in local politics.
It seems that too few people are coming forward to take on these roles.
Could that be because Town/Parish Councillors are not remunerated…?