Chandler’s Ford Parish Council has voted to reject Eastleigh Borough Council’s proposals to build 1,300 houses at Stoneham Park and to develop land next to ASDA for employment but has supported a proposal to develop land South of Allbrook Way.
This followed a presentation to the Parish Council given by an Eastleigh Borough planning officer to advise Parish Councillors on the latest amendments to the Borough Council’s Local Plan for developments in the Borough up to 2029 as part of the latest phase in the consultation process due to close today at midday. (Friday July 13).
The Parish Council’s Planning, Licensing and Strategic Planning committees had made detailed studies of Transport and Sustainability assessments commissioned from Consultancies by the Borough Council to support its Local Plan proposals and the results of these were reported to members of the Full Parish Council.
The Consultant’s Transport Assessment had described the current state of traffic on Chestnut Avenue as congested and an existing “traffic hotspot”. Councillors considered the Consultant’s suggestion to mitigate the impact of the additional traffic movements from the new site as being inadequate in its suggestions of minor junction improvements and that residents opting to walk, use cycles, or public transport would limit any increase in car use.
Members felt that a more robust infrastructure provision would be required to protect the amenity of existing residents and the quality of life of those coming to live at the proposed site.
Councillor Colin Davidovitz suggested that road traffic management improvements to junctions and roundabouts had already progressed as far as they could at hotspots like the ASDA roundabout and that any further increase in traffic would result in the need to construct flyovers – an item unlikely to be deliverable from developers’ contributions.
Councillor Peter Luffman said he feared that if 1,300 new houses were to be built at Stoneham then the extra burden of traffic in the Chestnut avenue area would ‘imprison people in their homes’ adding:
“We are here to make lives easier for people, not to prevent them from getting out of their driveway”
Doubts on Stoneham
There was also some dispute as to whether development at Stoneham on the proposed scale could proceed at all without the consent of Hampshire County Council, who own part of the land. According to Cllr Davidovitz the County Council is opposed to building at Stoneham.
The Councillor said that HCC would not make land available as they believed the site could not sustain much more than 300 new dwellings. This was contested by the council planning officer who claimed that EBC has not been formally notified of any such decision.
However the officer did concede that without the co operation of the County Council, Eastleigh would have to reconsider its plans for the Parkland.
The Chair, Councillor Margaret Atkinson, asked the planning officer to seek clarification of HCC’s position.
Finally, in reviewing the Consultant’s sustainability assessment of the South of Chestnut Avenue site for the proposed housing development, Councillors found that on balance the numerous items of evidence describing areas of unsustainable features on site could not be properly outweighed by the suggestions the report made for their mitigation. Thus, concluding that this rendered the proposals for the site to be unsustainable.
Councillor Peter Luffman observed:
“Although no one item is enough to reject proposals if taken singly – It is the cumulative effect of the various proposals that make this plan unsustainable”
Councillors were also concerned that the development of the site on this location would diminish the Strategic Gap between Eastleigh Borough and the City of Southampton.
Employment land opposed
In commenting on the use of the additional employment land to be allocated in the Local Plan, Councillors noted that almost 50% of the land available on the Chandler’s Ford Industrial Estate was currently underutilised and that no further employment land was required within the Parish Area.
Members were strongly opposed to the allocation of the Land South of the ASDA Hypermarket being proposed for employment as this would also diminish the strategic gap between Eastleigh Borough and the City of Southampton.
However, Councillor Godfrey Olson said that if this land was to be developed at all, consideration might be given for it being used as cemetery as the Parish and Borough were short of burial facilities.
Employment land supported
In supporting the allocation of land south of Allbrook Way for commercial use, the Councillors hoped that part of this allocation could be used to solve the problem of the relocation of the Household Recycling Centre (HWRC) from Woodside Avenue which is to be moved from its current location to make way for redevelopment.
However, aware that this could have the effect of increasing traffic flows in nearby residential roads, members proposed that if this was to happen, heavy goods vehicles from the west approach should be diverted to access the site and the motorway junction via Hursley Road, Poles Lane and Winchester Road, with HGV bans to be imposed on Hocombe and Hiltingbury Roads.
While the three Liberal Democrat members present abstained from supporting the objections to the Draft Local Plan, all members voted unanimously to approve the Habitats Regulation Assessment screening report and the new Biodiversity Action plan – items that were almost overlooked due to lengthy debate on the Local Plan but for the intervention of Cllr Paul Bicknell.
Commenting on the outcome of the debate, Cllr Margaret Atkinson said:
”We have had a very full and frank debate on these important proposals. The Parish Council has a duty to protect the amenity of its Parish residents and to make provision for their quality of life in the future.
“Parish Councillors have worked hard to assess the impact of the Draft Local Plan’s proposals and the consultant’s assessments for them and I hope that the constructive suggestions that we have made will be taken seriously and acted upon by the Borough’s decision makers.”