Leigh Road picnic protesters air rec concerns

Rec scrag

These trees are among 47 that will be ripped up if plans go ahead

A small group of protestors have staged a picnic protest on Eastleigh Rec as part of a series of national events held over the weekend by anti-cuts pressure group UKuncut.

Impromptu ‘street parties’ were held all over the UK with a one event being staged outside Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg’s Putney home.

Although the protests were about the current coalition governments austerity cuts, the local activist gathered on the Leigh Rd Rec were also concerned about councils plan to lease almost 6,000 square feet of the park for the redevelopment of the Sainsbury’s store which would require the removal of 47 trees.

The council argue that a strong anchor store is needed in the Town Centre to stop loss of trade to ‘out of town’ stores and that the scheme will fund improvements to public facilities like toilets and the bus station as well as provide extra employment.

A survey commissioned by Sainsbury’s earlier in the year showed, they claim, strong local support for the plans

However the protestors said the survey only highlighted the benefits of the proposals and none of the potential drawbacks. Plans show part of the Rec will be sacrificed to accommodate vehicles for a Home delivery service which they claimed would bring no value to the town .

One said:

“There will extra traffic and pollution. We have enough congestion as it is and we need more green space not less.”

“There are plenty of large empty units on trading estates its ridiculous to give up more of our green space in order to try and squeeze a Hedge End sized out of town superstore in the middle of our town”

Eastleigh Local Area Committee are expected to vote on the proposals in September.

Read about Sainsbury’s planning application and leave an online comment for council planners here:

See also:  www.rescuetherec.com

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