Botley protests against Borough’s local plan

Protestors in Botley Square

Protestors arrive in Botley Square

Protestors brought the centre of Botley to a standstill at lunchtime today.

Such protests are rare in this part of the world, but temporary road closures were in place to allow a march organised by the Botley Parish Action Group to protest against the developments that are proposed in Eastleigh Borough Council’s new local plan.

The plan has been through various phases of consultation over the last 18 months, but is currently in some difficulty with Eastleigh Borough Council reporting on their website that;

Following the consultation on the pre-submission Local Plan the Council’s intention was to progress the Local Plan to examination in 2013.  However, a small number of representations have raised issues that mean we have to reconsider some of the Local Plan’s proposals.

In particular, the County Council in its capacity as landowner has stated that its land west of Woodhouse Lane, Hedge End will not be made available for development during the plan period.

In addition, concerns have been expressed by the Highways Agency about the transport assessment undertaken for the Plan and the County Council’s acceptance of that assessment in its present form.

The Borough Council is reviewing its position and discussing these representations with HCC as landowner, HCC as the highway authority and the Highways Agency.

It is likely that alternative housing sites will have to be found, and further transport assessment work undertaken.

Todays protest further highlighted many residents concerns about the proposed development of 1700 new homes locally and the consequences of extra traffic in an area that is already very busy and routinely gridlocked if there is a problem on the Motorway.

Protestors feel that the Borough Council have not been listening

Protestors feel that the Borough Council have not been listening

As illustrated by the banner at the head of the march, and the chant of “Eastleigh Council, Please Listen”, the protestors clearly felt that their concerns about the proposed development had been ignored by the Borough Council.

Maria Hutchings art the Botley protest.

Conservative spokesperson Maria Hutchings, in Botley Square after the protest march

Speaking to Eastleigh News after the march, the Conservative spokesperson for Eastleigh, Maria Hutchings explained;

“These people elect us. It is imperative that their voices are heard”

Opinion from local traders was mixed, with one shopkeeper declining to comment and an assistant from another store saying;

Clearly the march is bad news for us. If people have travelled some distance to visit us, they’re likely to go elsewhere if the square is closed.

The most immediate impact by the march was clearly the disruption that was caused to local traffic, diverted off the main road through the village and around residential streets at the busiest time of a Saturday.

Traffic chaos in Botley

Traffic at standstill as it is directed around Botley Square

With some shouting and gesticulating directed at the unfortunate stewards, because of queues and delays caused by the parked cars in Winchester Street and elsewhere, the temporary road closure clearly caused some travellers a problem…Protest sign

Somewhat ironically perhaps, the protest against the traffic chaos that would be caused by the Borough Council’s proposals to over-develop the area, had caused some traffic chaos of its own.

As requested, the protestors dispersed quickly and in a well rehearsed routine the road through the village was re-opened by 12:30 and the disruption was kept to a minimum.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

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  7 comments for “Botley protests against Borough’s local plan

  1. Maureen
    February 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Local traders may be upset by this morning’s disruption, but they’ll be even more upset if the new development brings a new supermarket

  2. February 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Botley had the perfect chance to send a clear message to the ruling Lib Dem Council last year, that their voice is not being heard, in the local Borough Elections.

    What did Botley residents do..??

    They re-elected the same Lib Dem councillors who’s plan it is to build these houses.!!

    Sorry folks, you reap what you sow, so suck it up.!! Until local voters grow a pair and stop voting for these barmey Fib Dems nothing will change no matter how many take to the streets..

  3. John Palker
    February 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Boorley Green currenly has 240 homes. Adding an additional 1700 will totally change its character and destroy the community.

  4. February 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Its not just Botley that needs to think again about the Lib Dems, Matthew. They’re a Borough wide problem, far too complacent, and long overdue a kicking at the Ballot box…

  5. Pete Stewart
    February 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Matthew has hit the nail on the head about the electorate. The problem goes right to the national level. Because the electorate are scared of changing their voting habits, Labour and Conservative have played political ping pong since 1973 and the ball they are batting backwards and forwards between themselves in their exclusive little game, is our membership of the EU. It’s time for us to take that ball away from them by voting UKIP. That we we get to shut our borders with the EU. Once we get immigration under control, the mass housing developments will stop.

  6. maureen
    February 4, 2013 at 12:14 am

    OMG! Voting UKIP is just what the LibDems want and will keep them in control! UKIP have No MP’s and no Eastleigh councillors, TO GET RID OF THE LIBdEMS voters will have to vote for whoever can beat them in their areas – might be Labour, might be Tory but it won’t be UKIP – just look at the figures! Voting UKIP is just what the LibDems want and will keep them in control! UKIP have No MP’s and no Eastleigh councillors, TO GET RID OF THE LIBdEMS voters will have to vote for whoever can beat them in their areas – might be Labour, might be Tory but it won’t be UKIP or the English Democrats or any other single issue party – just look at the figures! Stop confusing the voters with European & national stuff at local council elections!

  7. rigel
    February 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Well here we are guys , we have been handed the best opportunity for peaceful revolt the country has seen in years – a by-election with all 3 main parties disgraced and important local issues on the brink – what are we going to do ? someone has given us a loaded canon and a match it seems will 50% of eastleigh be sitting on thier ass election night or will they be sending a cannonball into westminster ?

    can we meet up and find common ground and find a candidate

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