Campaign groups fighting to save Eastleigh’s green spaces from development will join forces this Saturday to highlight the fast approaching October deadline for public consultation on both the Local Plan and the proposed extension of Sainsbury’s supermarket onto the town’s recreation ground.
‘Save Stoneham Park’ protestors along with objectors from ‘Rescue the Rec’ will gather at the towns iconic bandstand to listen to speakers before tying ribbons around the 50 trees which will have to be felled to make way for the new megastore.
A spokesman for the combined action group said:
“We are united in our opposition to the wholesale destruction of our green open spaces – land we regard as our heritage and which we currently enjoy.
The 50 trees and 5,000 square feet of recreation ground earmarked for Sainsbury’s is a fraction of the green space that will be destroyed at Stoneham and elsewhere in the Borough under the Local Plan.
We believe planners may have overestimated future housing need, are not providing sufficient affordable homes and have not properly pursued brownfield options.
Our green spaces are needed for leisure, to protect natural habitat and to encourage visitors to spend time in the Borough.
It’s outrageous that the council should be considering the surrender of part of our recreation ground to a supermarket chain and propose to build on 100 acres of historic parkland while there are still acres of vacant brownfield sites within the Borough.
It seems the only sites the council are keen on bringing forward for development are ones that they own and can sell or lease for profit.”
The council says the Sainsbury’s development will give the town a strong anchor store which will halt the decline of the Town centre by attracting new visitors and prevent the leakage of local shoppers to out-of-town superstores.
The new store would also employ more people and fund a new bus station and a redesigned precinct on Leigh Road.
Liberal Democrat councillors claim extra housing is needed in the Borough to meet local demand, empty warehouses and decaying trading estates are still needed for employment and that the Stoneham Park site is one of the ’Least worst’ options.
The current round of the public consultation on the Local Plan closes on October 12 and campaigners warn:
“Even if you have previously made lodged an objection to the plan you will need to do so again if you want your comments to be considered by the planning inspector.”
Eastleigh Local Area Committee meet to consider the Sainsbury’s planning application on October 2.
You can examine and comment on both plans online: