Stoneham development plans spark local protest

Local people in Eastleigh say historic and beautiful parkland will be lost forever if developers are allowed to build 1,100 homes at Stoneham Park.

The land used to form part of the Fleming estate and borders grounds that were originally landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th Century.

Eastleigh Borough Council has identified the site that includes a sports field and farmland as suitable for development and Romsey based developers Highwood Group have a planning application pending.

Highwood staged a public exhibition of their plans last week but members of the “Save Stoneham Park” action group say they are still unhappy and a small number staged a protest meeting at Doncaster Farm .

Protest leader Pat Ford told Eastleigh News:

“It’s our history and should be our children’s future. The area should be enhanced not destroyed by concrete.”

Veteran campaigner Sam Snook agreed adding:

“Traffic is a major issue in the town, they are building more houses but we are overloaded now”

Local councillors did not want to comment on plans as an application has not yet been formally submitted but a spokesman for Eastleigh Borough Council said:

”The Council has received a pre-application for 1100 homes together with schools, open spaces and community facilities on land south of Chestnut Avenue.

“Issues including traffic and transport measures and the provision of medical services will be considered as part of the application.

“We would encourage local people to provide comments on these plans to The Highwood Group, who are leading proposals on the land, before an application is submitted to the Council. “

Highwood Group said in a statement:

“We recognise that originally the land was classified as parkland however over the years parts of the site have been sold and developed for various uses such as a golf driving range and sports facilities.

“The team at Highwood are working hard to ensure the development respects as much of the sites heritage as possible whilst also delivering much needed housing in the borough.”

“We are also looking closely at the impact on the local highway network however we are confident we can deliver a comprehensive improvement that will benefit the wider community.”

The developers say they will be holding a further public exhibition in December to update residents on the plans and listen to their feedback.

Pat Ford said:

“We understand there is a need for local housing but at what cost? Is this a price the people of Eastleigh are prepared to pay?”

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