Eastleigh’s much delayed local plan has moved a step closer to reality last night after Liberal Democrat councillors voted to focus on plans for more housing in Bishopstoke and Fair Oak with a new by-pass from Fair Oak to all Allbrook to link to the M3 at junction 12.
Councillors heard that with there was no Government funding available currently for the Chickenhall Lane eastern bypass of Eastleigh and that proposed that a lack of traffic solutions in South Bishopstoke and around Allington Lane made development there unfeasible .
In a statement Council Leader Keith House said:
“This decision confirms that we remain committed to getting the right homes in the right places, protecting the gaps between our towns and villages and tackling congestion at the same time. Long-term planning for the next 20 years gives us greater opportunity to ensure we can fund the infrastructure we need for the future.”
“The Council’s responsibility to meet the housing needs of the area is set by the Government’s national planning policy. The Council needs to demonstrate to a government-led planning inquiry that development is capable of delivering the proposed housing and that it is supported by necessary roads, schools and community facilities.”
After the meeting Eastleigh’s Conservative MP Mims Davies reacted to the decision telling Eastleigh News that:
“Keith House is wrong to suggest planning inquiries are ‘government led’ – the planning Inspector is independent. The council has failed to protect gaps for six years without a local plan turning the borough into a wild west for hostile planning applications and they (the council) have resisted developing Allington Lane several times.
Options B & C (Bishopstoke and Fair Oak) are not achievable. Tthe developer is the same developer at Stoneham Park which is unsustainable. I believe Keith House and the council have got this wrong and it’s doomed to fail”
The MP who was seated in the public gallery during the meeting, came in for sharp criticism from Lib Dem members over the failure of the government to deliver a link road at Chickenhall but she insisted that it was too soon to write the project off as it remains listed on the governments local majors list and she was still lobbying ministers.
The Leader of the Opposition Group on the council – Conservative Councillor Judith Grajewski – said she was “disappointed” with what had been a “predictable” decision. While speaking against the motion during the debate Cllr Grajewski said it seemed to her that the Council:
“Is hell-bent on destroying the identities and sense of place of our villages and local communities.”
Eastleigh Borough Council say that these local communities will have their chance to comment on future proposals as part of a full consultation process planned before summer 2017.