Sunday, 01 March 2015

Eastleigh residents plan legal challenge to homes

Local residents are to fight the decision to allow a controversial housing development, which has split the coalition ahead of next week’s Eastleigh by-election.

Botley Parish Council will seek a judicial review of Eastleigh Council’s approval of the 1,400 home scheme which received outline planning permission on Monday night. The development is expected to include around 500 affordable homes.

Eight parish councillors voted unanimously for the legal challenge at an emergency meeting on Tuesday night. ‘It’s in train,’ Colin Mercer, parish council chair, said of the planned legal challenge.

Echoing neighbourhood campaigners who argue that local infrastructure will fail to cope with the new homes, due to be built over the next 10 to 12 years on the outskirts of picturesque Botley in Hampshire, he said: ‘It’s just a case of them plonking them in the wrong place, for want of a better word.’

Anne Winstanley, cabinet member for housing at Liberal Democrat-led Eastleigh Council, said: ‘Wherever you consider [new] housing there’s always opposition from those who live nearby, but as councillors we have to look at the benefit for the overall population.’

On Wednesday, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the scheme, to be built on a 180-acre green field site, was needed ‘for hard working families in Eastleigh to live in’.

But Maria Hutchings, the Conservative candidate for the seat vacated by disgraced Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, slammed the homes. ‘We must fight these plans,’ she said.

A Botley resident, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘I would support the judicial review, you’ve got to try and stand your ground. I think we’ve had enough development around here.’

Mr Mercer estimated that local residents would need to raise ‘something of the order of £50,000’ to fund its legal challenge. ‘It’s a significant sum of money, but it’s a case of the borough has left us with no alternative.’

Readers' comments (18)

  • Chris

    Parish Councillors vote No to development in their 'backyard' - what a surprise!

    I'm sure they could raise the legal costs through a simple whip round - but to be fair, at least they will not be using taxpayers' money to fight the case, unlike the 'grown-ups' council or the government.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Eric Blair

    I've often wondered what kind of person would agree to become a parish councillor. And now I think I know.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris

    Excuse me Mr Horton; No-no-no-no-yes; pass the sheep vicar!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Eastleigh has survived much bigger housing developments in the recent past. It has a thriving economy and is a great place to live and work.
    Boorley Green is close to the M27. Folk there who prefer a quieter life might considere moving a few miles further north towards the South Downs National Park, as most of mid-Hampshire is undeveloped and beautiful, but still within easy reach of Winchester, Southampton, Fareham, Portsmouth and Eastleigh.
    Settlements in this area will also experience some growth in the years ahaed, but new "neighborhood" planning can make this gradual and more acceptable. We are lucky to live in Hampshire and should welcome new housing for our children, for newcomers and for those on limited incomes.
    This is not a political issue, to be exploited for by-election purposes.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider

    Libby Cleaver - "this is not a political issue" ???

    What the heck would a local political issue look like, then?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider

    I am infuriated by those who glibly throw the term "NIMBY" about when residents of an area oppose development near them.

    It is pretty ironic that the people supporting the development and throwing the insults around are supporting development that is not going to be built in their own back yard - which is the ultimate example of hypocrisy.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider

    Eric Blair - a Parish Councillor might be someone who wants to do something to support the local community, for no personal reward other than a sense of satisfaction at having "put something back" - as opposed to someone who would simply sit on the sidelines making smart-sounding cynical and often critical remarks, I would think.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider - The sentence was "This is not a political issue, to be exploited for by-election purposes". I agree with Libby. I live in Eastleigh and people are exploiting this issue. its not a debate in my book.

    These homes are needed, the location is suitable, as its not an area of outstanding natural beauty, the location is like many in Hampshire, GREEN and near a motorway. The truth is that more green areas will have to be build on. Unless we plan to build lots of flats in our towns and not allow others the opportunity to live in Hampshire.

    It does have good transport links, so I do not accept that as a reason.

    The locals of Botley are blocking it for there own gains and making up any excuse possible in the hope that it won't get through. There is no regard for current generations... let alone the next one! Finally, the political parties are apposing this in the hope that they can gain another seat. All very sad really.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider

    Chris (I take it you are not THE Chris?) -

    You say it is not a debate in your book, because you don't want to listen to the other side of the argument.

    The fact that other local people DO think it is an issue worthy of argument means it is a local political issue. It is the very definition of a local political issue.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider

    Chris - if you live in Eastleigh you must know about another large housing development outside Southampton that I was told about by a friend who works in Winchester.

    She told me that there was a very large housing development put up on a green-field site recently, with a good amount of affordable housing included in it, but many of the homes remained empty for over a year because nobody wanted to live so far out of town. The developer was apparently paying people to "house-sit" some of the empty homes to deter vandalism and to give the impression that the homes had been sold so that other homes would find buyers.

    At least, that is what I had heard from someone who knows the area pretty well. Can you confirm this?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



IH Subscription