Green Party leader sticks up for Stoneham


Natalie Bennett (centre) joins protestors at Stoneham Park

Natalie Bennett, the newly elected Green party leader, has said that Eastleigh Borough Council’s plans to build 1,300 houses on historic parkland “make no sense” and has urged local residents to oppose them.

The party leader was visiting Green Party members in Southampton yesterday but took time out to see for herself the threatened land in Eastleigh’s green belt and to add her voice to the to campaign to Save Stoneham Park from the bulldozer.

Unusually perhaps for a party leader, Ms Bennett arrived by bus  – and soon experienced difficulty in crossing the road due the sheer volume of traffic on Chestnut avenue.

Once safely across she joined campaigners demonstrating outside the Doncaster farm car park as they waved placards with slogans like “Goodbye trees – Hello concrete”.

Many motorists caught in a stream of  bumper –to- bumper traffic on the approach to the Stoneham Lane roundabout honked their horns in support or made thumbs up gestures.


“If you think this traffic is bad – wait till they build another town here” shouted one objector at the frustrated drivers.

The assembled protestors – who included representatives from Hampshire gardens trust – heard Ms Bennett say that she believed local people had the right to determine what kind of development happened in their community and that many of the planning ‘consultations’ that were being held across the country in the name localism were little more than sham exercises.

Describing the proposed development plan for 1,300 houses as ‘a commuter town’ she said development should consist of smaller units with more housing for elderly residents to liberate much needed larger accommodation which many are currently under occupying.

One resident pointed out that building on green field sites was far cheaper for developers than brown field sites.

Responding Ms Bennett said that developers had to be incentivised to use brown fields sites first :

“at the moment If a developer has a choice between a 10% profit or a 20% profit they are  always going to choose 20%”

The Save Stoneham Park campaigners have already held a series of rambles across the site which Conservatives , Labour and Ukip  activists have united to support and  the Green party leader was also taken for a short ramble across along the same Capability Brown landscaped route escorted by campaign organiser Pat Ford.

Ms Bennett seemed impressed by what she saw:

“I think you have a beautiful space that should be maintained as it is now as an amenity for the area.

“The idea of 1,300 houses here and the idea of putting more traffic on to really busy roads makes no sense at all.”

Ms Bennett said she would be highlighting nationally the threat to local green belts and said she would refer to Stoneham Park specifically as an example.

As Eastleigh’s MP Chris Huhne is in court this week defending a charge of perverting the course of justice Bennett was asked if her visit to Eastleigh was in any way connected to the selection of a candidate for a possible by-election should the trial go against the MP but the party leader insisted that candidate selection was a matter solely for local branches themselves and was a process she could not interfere in.

Photos:©Matthew Myatt

Sign the Save Stoneham Park petition here

Consultation on Local Plan which includes the propsoals for Stoneham Park ends on October 12 view details and leave comments here

  6 comments for “Green Party leader sticks up for Stoneham

  1. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is probably the most famous, internationally known landscape gardener of all time – once again Eastleigh fails to look after and capitalise on it’s heritage! – they’d prefer to concrete over it for a quick buck. Why not continue to restore it and make it a visitor attraction ready for the Capability Brown Tercentenary Celebrations in 2016.

  2. Peter Stewart
    October 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Do I detect the stench of hypocrisy in the Green leader’s words?


    1: Mass house building is largely caused by mass immigration of cheap EU labour.

    2: Mass immigration of cheap EU labour is caused by open EU borders.

    3: Open EU borders come with EU membership.

    4: EU membership is supported by Green leaders.

    Voila! It is hypocrisy to oppose mass house building while supporting its principal cause!

    Only UKIP has the guts to tell it like it is: The only way to stop the mass house building programme which our politicians have decided we must have, is by leaving the EU and closing our borders.

  3. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    The properties proposed here are certainly not aimed at low paid exploited folk from eastern europe – This is selling green belt for a profit under the misleading mantra of ‘we need houses’. Only a paltry 35% will be affordable housing (that’s if the developers don’t successfully negotiate that figure down – which is not uncommon).

    • Peter Stewart
      October 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      Stuart is correct, these properties are not aimed at low paid eastern European workers.

      But they ARE aimed at British workers forced out of the cities by the mass immigration of cheap EU labour.

      No British worker can compete with cheap EU labour. This is why the mass immigration of cheap EU labour into our biggest cities is triggering mass population displacements outwards and into our smaller cities and towns.

      All this is understood by any politicians and I therefore reiterate my assertion that it is BRAZEN HYPOCRISY for the Green leader to condemn the Stoneham mass house building proposal without first condemning its cause: Britain’s EU membership.

  4. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

    The green party supports a referendum on Europe
    I don’t slavishly agree with every Green Party policy as sometimes what seems a great ideal to have doesn’t work in practice and chaos enshews. Free movement of labour is a nice idea if the economies are roughly similar, but they’re not. You get silly situations – people from eastern Europe with university degrees picking fruit in the UK – because to them it’s better paid. I’m surprised their aren’t more people going in the opposite direction, considering how much cheaper property is on the continent – I spoke to someone at the weekend buying a house in France – price? £35,000 – you couldn’t buy a garage for that in the UK. Back to the issue – yes we do need affordable homes for local people – but there are less damaging places to put it and it should be 100% affordable. If you have money and income their are plenty of properties available in Eastleigh – there’s several estate agents with windows full of houses. I moved from one part of Eastleigh to another last year, and I was INUNDATED with property details and I’m still trying to stop the flow…

  5. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    The Green party supports a referendum on EU membership and wants reforms to make it more transparent and accountable.

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