Residents and a cross party group of activists chanting “we want houses” marched across Fleming Park on Saturday to demand that affordable homes should be built on the recently demolished council office site.
The locals have reacted angrily to a planning application by the council to allow a fast food dive thru – possibly a McDonalds and a coffee shop – to be built alongside what they say is already a heavily congested motorway junction.
An online petition organised by residents Caroline Pearce and Victoria Mount opposing the proposed development has already gathered 267 signatures.
Caroline told Eastleigh News:
“This site represents a real opportunity we don’t want it just to be a motorway service station, we want it to be something that will really benefit Eastleigh.”
Eastleigh’s MP, Mims Davies, joined the marchers to lend her support and called on the council to use the site for housing
“Here in Eastleigh people are fed up with seeing their green fields disappearing for hostile planning applications on places they don’t think is right.
“This is a prime site for housing.
“ It’s a sustainable site, it’s close to the train station, it’s close to open spaces for people to enjoy.
“Why housing is not being properly and roundly considered here only the council can explain.”
Cllr Andy Moore – Ukip’s County Cllr for Eastleigh East – said he was worried that a drive through takeaway would generate extra traffic, which could cause problems for the emergency services.
“If you go up that road at 8 o’clock in the morning you can’t move – it’s bumper to bumper.
“If an ambulance has to get through it takes an extra 10 minutes – that’s someone’s life”
One local is labour party activist Stephen Phillips who is worried about the effect the development could have on Fleming Park:
“It s going to have a devastating impact on this lovely area.
Fleming Park is a credit to Eastleigh and a lot of people use it”
The Green Party were represented by Ron Meldrum – their Eastleigh candidate in last year’s general election – warned that if enacted the proposals would “intensify the existing stress on the local countryside”.
The plans are to be considered by councillors on Eastleigh Local Area Committee at their next monthly meeting – the council finds itself in the position of being both the land owner and the planning authority and in effect will have to decide whether or not to grant itself permission to proceed.
Eastleigh News has asked Eastleigh Borough Council for a response to and will update this story as soon as they do.