Parish Councillors support Fair Oak residents

Fair Oak Planning & Highways Committee 2013

The Planning & Highways Committee at Fair Oak & Horton Heath Parish Council

In a well attended but surprisingly tame meeting of the Planning & Highways Committee at Fair Oak & Horton Heath Parish Council this evening, residents and Councillors found that they were of exactly the same mind over Eastleigh Borough Council’s proposals to develop over 750 new homes in the Parish.

The purpose of the meeting was to agree the Parish Council’s response to the latest consultation on the Borough Council’s local plan. The consultation process ends on 2nd December and the Parish Council’s response will be submitted tomorrow, 26th November. A copy of the document will also be posted on the Parish Council’s website.

This evenings meeting was however an opportunity for local residents to express their views to the eight Parish Councillors of the Planning and Highways Committee.

Public Gallery

Public Gallery

More than 50 residents turned up for the meeting, including Maria Hutchings (Conservative Candidate in the recent Eastleigh by-election) who again spoke passionately about the inappropriate and unwanted development in the Borough and received a round of applause as she returned to her seat.

Introducing the debate was Cheryl Gosling, Clerk to the Parish Council, who explained the findings from the 75 submissions that had been made to the Parish Council.

  • Only two people had written in to say that they supported the proposed development and there was an overwhelming majority (97%) against the proposal.
  • The biggest single issue was congestion, with infrastructure, schools and loss of countryside all featuring strongly in the concerns that were raised with the Parish Council.

After a short silence, when questions were eventually invited from the public gallery, Matthew Sharfman was first to speak-up, saying;

I don’t feel that they’ve actually considered the jobs that are required for these houses. Our Borough hasn’t the best record of attracting high calibre jobs to the Borough. We’ve lost good jobs at Ford and we’ve gained minimum wage jobs in retail. Our Borough Council is exacerbating the situation, by making this hotel which is only going to add more congestion and more minimum wage jobs. They’re not going to pay the mortgage. How do we all get out of the Parish and out of the Borough to get to Southampton or Winchester or Portsmouth, to go to our places of work to pay for these mortgages…?

Maria Hutchings then spoke saying;

I’ve been to so many Parish Council meetings around the constituency where time after time I hear people talk about the lack of infrastructure and oppose development in this constituency.

We are now talking about almost 11,000 homes in Eastleigh

We have issued a Freedom of Information request to the Borough Council about where these figures come from.

Apparently, in 2010 there were 6000 people on the social housing list. I believe that has reduced somewhat to 5,000

We are talking about housing for people in this area. Local people I have spoken to across the constituency are blatantly clear that if we have housing it should be for local people, for people with local connections and front-line workers and armed forces.

Eastleigh Borough Council failed to provide a sound local plan for Eastleigh when Woodhouse Lane was refused to them.

Now we’ve 750 houses in our area.

Where we live in Burnetts Lane, shortly after we moved in, almost six years ago, we had a crematorium built behind us. We now have a road planned behind our garden. And opposite, possibly, a meat processing plant.

I know from speaking to the people here and people outside, they are saying who is truly representing us…?

When we go to Full Council, as I understand it, two of our Borough Councillors potentially cannot bring our issues forward because of their own personal interests. They’ll have to abstain…

The question of adequate representation was to recur throughout the meeting, with residents particularly asking about Borough Councillor, Cllr Roger Smith’s interest in land that is proposed for development. Towards the end of the meeting, there were even calls from the public gallery for Cllr Smith to “do the honourable thing” and “resign”, though these largely fell on deaf ears and didn’t draw a reaction. Cllr Smith, who also serves on Fair Oak and Horton Heath Parish Council, was not present at this meeting and Cllr Philip Speary, who was chairing the Highways and Planning Committee, had already indicated that he couldn’t possibly comment on such matters.

Cllr Speary did however make it clear that all members of the Highways & Planning Committee, none of whom are also Borough Councillors, were there to represent the residents and that they would dutifully submit all of the points that had been raised with them to the Borough Council, along with a few more of their own.

Other points raised from the public gallery this evening included one very frustrated couple who had just moved into the area, only to discover a few weeks later that there was a large development planned on their doorstep.  As Mrs Chambers explained;

The plan had not been published when our searches were done. Although I also phoned the planning department at Eastleigh Borough Council, we were not told that there was anything in the pipeline.

Steven Wood, from Horton Heath added;

The whole local plan consultation process is fundamentally flawed. We have been given the absolute bare minimum of time to respond on something that is absolutely of paramount importance. Eastleigh Borough Council is hell bent on pursuing this and getting this option through, regardless of what we might say or what we might do. This is a process that will alienate large chunks of the community.

Apart from the residents difficulty with Cllr Smith, the mood of the meeting was generally supportive of the Parish Council, with any hostility being directed towards Eastleigh Borough Council, the Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council – Cllr Keith House and Mike Thornton MP, rather than the members of the Planning & Highways Committee who were in the firing line this evening.

When the questions from the public gallery ended, the Planning & Highways Committee discussed the draft submission that was in front of them and what they had heard from the public gallery. Other than the call for Cllr Smith to resign, there was no heckling, because the Planning and Highways Committee were clearly of the same mind as the residents.

All of the Councillors present spoke about the plan, all were clearly against the proposals and supportive of the document that was in front of them. In the event, their discussion was brief, lasting barely 10 minutes, with agreement to include some additional points that had been raised from the public gallery and a rather pointed observation that;

The committee is disappointed that the consultation is taking place after the Borough Council have already decided that development in Fair Oak and Horton Heath is their preferred option…

The local plan consultation ends on Sunday, but you still have time to submit your comments via the Eastleigh Borough Council website.

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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  24 comments for “Parish Councillors support Fair Oak residents

  1. Rosie
    November 26, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Great to see at least one of our groups of local councillors listening to their residents!

    • November 26, 2013 at 8:22 am

      That same thought had crossed my mind Rosie. The Fair Oak meeting was so different to last years meetings at Hedge End Town Council.

      If you recall, Hedge End Town Council is dominated by multi-hatters who also serve on the Borough Council and such discussion of the impact of any new development on Hedge End was actively discouraged. The decision had already been taken at Borough level and the multi-hatting Borough Councillors were actively managing their favoured decision through the Town Council.

      That didn’t happen at Fair Oak, because the Parish Councillors at this meeting don’t serve on the Borough Council. They don’t have a bigger agenda to follow and can genuinely represent their residents, though it remains to be seen how effective their representations will be….

  2. Rosie
    November 26, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Just had a thought too that we won’t need any more houses at this rate as (a) many “Eastleigh” residents will hot-foot it into neighbouring Southampton/Fareham/Winchester council areas and (b) our acquaintances have heard us moaning so much about EBC that none of them would want to move into the EBC area either!

    • November 26, 2013 at 8:25 am

      As one speaker observed, people are actively being encouraged to move to Eastleigh, for instance by getting their removal expenses paid. It gets them off the waiting list in other Local Authorities…

  3. renard
    November 26, 2013 at 1:48 am

    This is just to congratulate Ray Turner on good journalism in bringing this excellent report to us so soon after the event. Thank you.

    • November 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Thank you renard. That’s very kind and much appreciated.

  4. November 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

    A gentleman at the meeting last night said that his objection (that he submitted online many weeks ago) was not listed on the publicly available council website. Only when he rang up and made enquiries did it then appear on the site the next day. He was told the delay was due to a processing delay, yet his wife, who submitted her objection at the same time, but did *not* ring the council about it, has yet to see her comment on the site. My partner and I have both just looked for our comments and can’t find them either. A cynic may suspect foul play. If *you* have submitted a comment then I strongly suggest you look for it here http://localplan.eastleigh.gov.uk. If you can’t find it then give the council a ring.

  5. Ged
    November 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

    No? Thats ridiculous; will the same courtesy be afforded to me when I move out of the area and take my salary with me? The way Eastleigh is going its going to be a town of Chavs and benefit recipients – everyone else will head for the hills! (I suspect most of our councillors already have done so)

  6. Tina
    November 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

    lots of rumours about EBC corruption too circulating at the mo, get your journalistic noses into that guys!

    • November 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Thanks Tina. If anybody has got any hard evidence, rather than rumours, I’d be pleased to see it.

  7. November 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Thanks Ray for such a thorough report.

    A couple of points about Cllr Smith – he is not a member of the parish council planning committee and was not required to attend last night.
    Also he has always declared an interest at all stages and I understand the land he owns in question, although in the area, is not included in the proposals so there is absolutely no need for him to consider resigning over this issue as he has done nothing wrong and acted above board.

    Of course voters always have the option to hire and fire their councillors at the ballot box and they might not see things the same way but hey, that’s politics!

    Interesting to see a return to action from Maria Hutchings – looks like the 2015 General Election will be a rerun of the by-election, a three way fight with the same candidates.

    Will it be fought on local planning issues or on immigration?

    • November 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Are you sure that Cllr Smith does not own the land that forms part of the Horton Heath development? As far as I can tell the development almost wraps round Chapel Drove over the land he owns.

      Should Cllr Smith resign if  it does transpire that he owns the land? After all an abstainer is almost as good as a vote for Cllr House’s unsustainable Local Plan when the local FibDems have such a majority.  

      By the way (Ray) I never knew there were so many uncontested seats. I would stand myself but I would find the company of so many self serving councillors repulsive.

    • Pete Stewart
      November 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      The British people are already very angry. Immigration is the main issue and come January 1st, there will be a massive shift to UKIP.

  8. Graham
    November 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Dont mind what party the candidate is associated with, what I want are politicians who put us, the electorate, first and don’t blindly tow the line and perhaps listen to us and not mock us (eh Keith House?!)

    The current state of affairs, with this LIB DEM, majority needs to go though.

  9. William Simons
    November 26, 2013 at 10:56 am

    We put our parish, and borough councilors into office via a democratic process as we do our MP’s; once in office many seem morph into self serving autocrats! They should bow to majority public opinion and then have the guts to forcefully oppose central government and not present us with what are in effect ‘”done deal” situations! Put the people before votes and the party line;earn your high positions!!

  10. Rosie
    November 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    As one of the unsuspecting people who voted in some of the Lib Dem candidates (in order to use up all my votes), and not realising the “monster” we were creating (!), I won’t be making the same mistake next time! Of all the councillors on our Parish list, only 1 (not Lib Dem) is acting for the community and the preservation of the character of the area and the meagre portions of true countryside left within it. That candidate, and any independent candidates, will be the only ones I vote for next time around.

  11. Glad
    November 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Something must be done about turnout for elections too; if its less than a certain percentage it should be invalid and they should do the whole thing again. And they should limit the cr@p the Fib dems put through our doors. Shows that they dont give a fig about the enviroment.

  12. Pete Stewart
    November 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    If these houses are to be opposed, then the electorate had better move pretty quickly! But a knee jerk reaction will be very damaging.

    It will do no good voting for the three largest parties because they all support EU membership which is driving mass immigration which is driving mass house building.

    So if you REALLY oppose mass house building on principle, then your choice must be UKIP.

    At times the electorate seems to fall asleep. However such inactivity is like that of a sleeping tiger. Woe betide those who try to trap the sleeping beast.

    As we see with the massive shift towards UKIP, the sleeping tiger is waking up to what the traitors in Parliament and elsewhere, have been doing to it.

    On January 1st, David (Cameron) opens Britain’s borders (OUR borders) to the whole of Bulgaria and Rumania.

    DID HE ASK YOUR PERMISSION TO DO THAT (ALL EASTLEIGH NEWS READERS)?

  13. Sam Snook
    November 27, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    For those not familiar with UKIP MEPs shenanigans, the name of the game for UKIPs trusted circle led by Mr Farage is not UKIP’s withdrawal from the EU.They don’t any intention of pursuing that dream.
    Sam Snook

  14. Sam Snook
    November 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Fundamentally,UKIP is a party of the rich, for the rich.They are like a Tory Party who has any pretence
    of representing any one else. They talk the talk about wasting tax-payers money,while the same time Farage millions of pounds in expenses from the very same tax payers he claims to represent.
    Sam Snook.

  15. RB
    December 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Many years ago I represented the residents of Olympic Way to try and mitigate the effect of the then new Stoke Heights development on the traffic flow in our road and had dealings with a senior council official who i shall not name. Some years after I saw him at another public meeting regarding another development and was stunned to note he had taken up a senior post with the developer. Make of that as you will. He was salaried NOT elected.

  16. Anne Romaine
    December 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Happens all the time RB

  17. Pete Stewart
    December 2, 2013 at 9:30 am

    THE LAW NOW GIVES YOU THE POWER TO STOP MASS HOUSE DEVELOPMENTS!

    First understand:-

    IF YOU VOTED CON-LIB OR LAB….
    then YOU voted to stay in the globalist EU …
    and YOU voted for open EU borders in 2004 ….
    and YOU voted for mass immigration …
    HENCE YOU VOTED FOR MASS HOUSE DEVELOPMENT!

    You can’t stop THESE developments but …

    THE LAW GIVES YOU THE POWER TO STOP ANY MORE ….

    THE POWER OF THE VOTE!

    If you reckon Con-Lib or Lab leaders have seen the light and will get us out of the globalist EU, and close our borders and control immigration and stop mass house building, then carry on voting for them.

    BUT …

    if in 7 years time we are still in the globalist EU, our borders are still open, mass immigration is still going on and mass house building is growing apace, then don’t say you’ve not been warned by THIS comment.

    Only by voting UKIP can you ever help get Britain out of the EU and end mass house development.

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