Botley Parish Council have resolved to continue the fight against Eastleigh Borough Council’s decision to develop 1400 new homes in Boorley Green, for the time being at least.
At an extraordinary meeting of Botley Parish Council this evening, 19th February, the seven Councillors who were present passed a resolution;
“That the Council shall agree to allocate a budget of £5,000 for the purpose of obtaining a specialist legal opinion on procedures necessary to seek a Judicial Review of the decision to grant outline planning permission to application O/12/71522″
The Parish Council also agreed to set up two working parties.
Detailed terms of reference would be drawn-up and presented at the next regular meeting of the Parish Council, but the principle was that one working party would be tasked with further exploring the legal side. Something that needed to be done urgently, as the clock is ticking and there are only a few weeks for the Parish Council to get its act together and seek a Judicial Review.
The second working party would be concerned with the practical issues and the legwork, which would include an urgent referendum of the residents of Botley to see if there was support for such a challenge. It was agreed that if a referendum found that the support wasn’t there, the idea of pursuing a Judicial Review would not be taken forward.
Besides Parish Councillors, the working parties would include two local residents. Chris Tapp, a former Chief Executive of Eastleigh Borough Council and Sue Grinham, because of her extensive local knowledge.
If, after these initial consultations, the Parish Council decided to proceed to the courts and seek a Judicial Review of the Borough Councils decision, the potential costs of such a legal challenge were estimated to be in the region of £50K. The Finance Committee was therefore asked to consider how those funds could be made available.
Speaking at the start of the meeting, Dr Colin Mercer, the Chairman of Botley Parish Council, expressed his extreme disappointment with the deliberations at last nights HEWEB meeting and his extreme encouragement with the level of support from the local community. He added that he was still annoyed that there was no right of reply during the members debate, so the flawed arguments that were put forward by the Borough Councillors simply could not be challenged.
Dr Mercer observed that a Judicial Review would be new territory for everybody around the table and needed to be done correctly, but emphasised that it could only be done with the support of the village. He reported to the meeting that the neighbouring parishes of Durley and Curdridge were being supportive and helpful.
Still reeling from the way that the decision was taken, one Botley Parish Councillor described the comments made by “a certain Hedge End Town Councillor” about the people of Botley to be “despicable”…
Neither of the two Borough Councillors who also serve on Botley Parish Council were present at the meeting this evening. At last nights HEWEB meeting, where Outline Planning Permission for Boorley Green was granted, Cllr Rupert Kyrle voted against the proposal and Cllr Cathie Fraser abstained.