And what YOU can do to help
For those who were not able to attend the meeting that the Parish Council held in January, you may be thinking:
“We live in Winchester District and are further protected by the South Downs National Park, how can Eastleigh’s plan to build more houses have any effect on me in Upham?“
IF THIS IS YOU, PLEASE READ ON AND THINK AGAIN.
Under the current proposals, Eastleigh Borough Council is aiming to build somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 new homes between now and 2036; although 10,000 of these will be provided on sites with existing planning permission, the rest would have to be located in new areas which Eastleigh will designate. In order to achieve this, Eastleigh has identified a number of possible options (A to H) as to areas where housing and employment could be provided and is currently considering which of these options should be taken forward to the final plan. For further details and maps, the Local Plan Issues and Options document is available to view at www.eastleigh.gov.uk.
Of these areas, we are very concerned about the impact on Upham of Options B and C. Option C would result in 2500 new homes being built on an area along Mortimers Lane right up to the boundaries of not only Upham but also the National Park, even extending north of the B2177 and coming close to Popes Lane. However, it is also clear that road funding issues mean that choosing Option C almost certainly means that Option B (with a further 3700 houses running from Mortimers Lane north of Bishopstoke and up to the M3 at junction 12) would also be chosen. These 6000+ houses would destroy any semblance of a gap between Upham and Fair Oak and the village would become part of one enormous suburban sprawl.
Options B and C are linked both geographically and economically as they each rely on a new link road to junction 12 of the M3: this road would be financed by the development and, it is claimed, would take the additional traffic from B and C off the already congested local roads. Unfortunately, this new road has considerable logistical issues, as it would have to funnel traffic under the narrow railway bridge at Allbrook, and would also put at risk considerable stretches of the water meadows adjacent to the River Itchen. It is at best questionable whether the traffic going west and south would use this route but almost certain that drivers going north and east would choose instead to go through Twyford or, more likely, Upham on their way to the less congested Morestead Road. Eastleigh’s figures suggest there would be as many as 30,000 extra vehicle movements each day, just from these developments. Upham Street and the other local lanes would become a rat run and, for significant parts of the day, completely impassable. It would also raise serious road safety issues, not least for Upham School.
We fully accept that Eastleigh needs to find sites for new homes to meet both Government targets and the great demand for housing; however, we believe that there are much more suitable, less beautiful locations, which are close to existing transport and other vital infrastructure, such as schools, health facilities and shops. Options B and C would not only result in the loss of some of the finest open countryside in the area adjoining the South Downs National Park but would also be environmentally damaging, destroying our community identity and creating traffic chaos in areas with totally inadequate public transport links.
THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT WOULD AFFECT EVERYONE IN UPHAM.
What happens next?
Upham Parish Council put in our objections, along with many others to the consultation document and then joined with other local groups to fight against Options B and C. The name of this group is:
Action Against Destructive Development – “ADD”
We have been busy engaging Planning Consultants, Transport Consultants and Environmental Consultants to put forward our case and ensure that the planning process is followed properly – this work is all funded by private contributions and not from your Council Tax.
The next milestone is the Cabinet meeting of Eastleigh Council on 16th June, at which the cabinet members will review progress and either make recommendations to the Full Council to consider or they may even decide which of the Options will go forward to the next stage of the Local Plan. ADD will be ensuring our points are made to the councillors before this meeting and will also be speaking at the meeting.
You can help us by:
- Going to Change.org to sign the petition there against Options B and C:
- Writing to the Eastleigh Borough Councillors Cabinet before 16th June to show how strongly you feel about this. Their emails are below or you can send letters by mail c/o Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, SO50 9YN. Cabinet members are:
(All have email addresses in the same format eg email@example.com )
Home addresses are also available on the Eastleigh BC website.
- Supporting Upham and ADD by ensuring your name is on our email address list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (nb if you provided your email at the meeting in January, you should not need to add this now). Please let us know if you would be prepared to help ADD in any other ways, particularly if you have any relevant experience or skills.
- Helping with funding of our consultants: we will be writing to everyone to ask for contributions as our campaign will only be as effective as the expert help that we can enlist.
We should like to think that our efforts will ensure that Options B and C will not go forward to the Draft Local Plan but we are all too aware of the interest of developers in these areas and have to assume that this may be a long fight and that we will need all the help that we can muster.