Rush hour protest gets driver’s attention

Rush Hour protest

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 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

  2 comments for “Rush hour protest gets driver’s attention

  1. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    At peak times, Chestnut avenue is already at a slow crawl – the road infrastructure would not be
    sufficient to cope with the development, and the impact of increased traffic from other new developments nearby, Sirocco park and Woodside are yet to be observed. There is already a lot of new
    development in this particular part of the borough and the roads are already approaching gridlock at peak times – Not to mention the drop in air quality that results from a large volume of vehicles moving very slowly.

    The park has a proven and recognised historical connection to Lancelot Capability Brown – accepted worldwide as one of ,if not THE,greatest landscape gardener of all time. Building on this site would be an act of wanton vandalism and also a missed opportunity to capitalise on a potential heritage attraction. Both history and gardening are recognised growth leisure interests – and with a small investment (which could be fundraised by local residents), there could be a formal wildlife walk for both educational and leisure use, including disabled access

  2. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    In June of this year many organisations, including English Heritage and the National Trust, met to launch a major celebration of the life and work of Lancelot Capability Brown, in his tercentenary year of 2016. A number of councils also sent people to the conference. How ironic! – Once again Eastleigh spectacularly fails to value or capitalise on it’s own heritage – it would prefer to concrete over it. Conference notes and attendees here :

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