Gridlocked Commuters stuck in traffic on Chestnut Avenue provided a captive audience for campaigners protesting over proposals to build 1,300 houses on green field land at Stoneham Park.
Up to 20 local protestors lined both sides of the road during rush hour on Wednesday to draw attention to Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan which ends its final period consultation today at 4.30 pm.
Stoneham Park covers hundreds of acres of vital green belt and was originally laid out in the 18th Century by landscape gardener and architect ‘Capability Brown’.
It is enjoyed today by many locals, including councillors, for recreational purposes but Eastleigh Borough Council claim it is required for new homes – up to 35% of which will be Social housing.
Protestors held up placards with the www.savsestonehampark.org.uk website address – which features an online petition – and encouraged drivers to blow their horns in support.
The placards were seen by thousands of motorists during the 90 minute protest. Drivers forced to crawl along due to congestion wound down their windows to talk to the demonstrators told them that they feared development at Stoneham would make things worse.
Stoneham Park campaigners were joined by members of the ‘Rescue the Rec’ action group who are still fighting to save Leigh Road Recreation Ground from development by Council after the planning department recommended an application to extend the Sainsbury’s supermarket on to it.
Sainsbury’s recently sensationally withdrew their application citing ‘financial difficulties’ amid a storm of public protest.
One campaigner, aged 55, said angrily:
“It’s incredible to think our local councillors could have had the gall to describe the proposed loss of 50 trees and 5,000 square feet of the recreation as an ‘improvement’.
“Our lovely Rec was always intended to be used for recreational purposes and our councillors have clearly shown they cannot be trusted with its stewardship. It’s not safe in their hands. We want village green status for it.”
The Stoneham Park protesters are currently running an online petition and hope to be joined on their next protest by a local celebrity.
“We are going to fight this all the way down to the individual planning applications.” vowed one objector.
The Stoneham park group warn:
Even if you have already raised an objection in a previous consultation, you will still need to do so again for it to be considered by the Planning Inspector in January.
To leave a comment on Local Plan Proposals please go here
Photos by © Matthew Myatt