Planner’s letter a ‘Victory for common sense’

'The future for Eastleigh looks brighter' says countryside charity after planning inspector's letter on Local Plan

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Carol Dibden: ‘The future for Eastleigh and its communities looks brighter’ Pic: CPRE

A countryside charity has welcomed remarks made by the Planning Inspector following the pubic examination of Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan in which she recommends the council scraps policies that would see over 5,000 new houses and a new motorway link road built on green fields north of the Borough.

In a press release Caroline Dibden, Vice Chair of the Hampshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) said:

“The future for Eastleigh and its communities looks brighter. Common sense has prevailed, and we hope that, in their next Plan review, the borough council will deliver their affordable housing needs in more sustainable locations close to public transport such as rail and other existing facilities. In any event Eastleigh have sufficient other sites to meet their housing needs for well over 10 years.

CPRE Hampshire wants to see development located close to public transport, therefore minimising the need for car use, helping mitigate climate change, and protecting our special landscapes. This is especially the case to meet the needs of young people and the elderly.”

CPRE who campaigned against Eastleigh’s Local Plan say that the Planning Inspector’s findings on the proximity of the proposed development to the South Downs National Park, highlights the potential to cause significant harm to the rural landscape and surrounding communities.

The Planning Inspector suggested that the Local Plan could be found sound if the council built the proposed 5,200 new homes, including much needed affordable housing, in the South of the Borough, at sites in Bishopstoke, Horton Heath, Fair Oak and West End instead, as they are closer to existing infrastructure and transport links – these are also the sites favoured by local campaign group ADD who say they are “more sustainable”

But the Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council Keith House has insisted that the Council’s preferred site North of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak is the best option, and that the sites were still viable telling Eastleigh News:

The overall case is clear, that the only deliverable option to tackle traffic congestion and still keep the separate identity of our communities is growth in the North of the Borough.

The council say they need time to fully consider the Planning Inspector’s post-examination advice but Eastleigh News understands that despite the Inspector’s advice, they will be looking to further develop the evidence base in support of their original choice of site.