The Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council has confirmed that the council will shelve controversial plans to build 5,300 new homes on countryside at Bishopstoke in order to get the Local Plan adopted.
The Government Planning Inspector had written to the council and instructed them to remove policies that would have led to the large-scale development of a greenfield site North of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak (Local Plan options B and C) but the Local Plan can still be adopted without them because there is a sufficient supply of sites to meet demand for housing for the next five years.
Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes had described the Local Plan as ‘fundamentally flawed’ and called on the council to ‘scrap it and go back to the drawing board’ but writing in response Council Leader Keith House said that it was important to get the Local Plan adopted and although policies were being deleted, the actual sites was still viable and could be included in the five-year review of the Local Plan once the current supply of sites was exhausted.
This means, said Cllr House, that the sites at options B and C, along with the other local plan options, “could still play a part in delivering Eastleigh’s longer-term housing-needs.”
Local campaign group ADD welcomed the council’s position saying:
“ADD has received assurances from the chief executive of Eastleigh Borough Council that options B and C will be removed from the local plan, as instructed by the inspector.
There is now an opportunity to devise a local plan that, unlike the present one, genuinely addresses Eastleigh’s housing requirements without wrecking the environment.
ADD would be more than willing to make a constructive contribution to this process.”
The group had campaigned hard against large scale development on the greenfield sites earmarked for housing in options B and C and had made representations during the public examination of the Local Plan.
Addressing the possibility that the site could be once again considered for housing a spokesman for the group commented:
“We don’t believe it will ever be possible to justify options B and C, especially in view of the increasing emphasis on fighting climate change.”
When adopted the Local Plan will enable over 700 new homes to be built on smaller greenfield sites adjoining Allbrook, Bishopstoke, Bursledon, Fair Oak, Hedge End, Netley and West End.