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Hundreds expect to march through Botley in Hampshire against plans for 1,400 homes
RESIDENTS were set to march through the streets of a Hampshire village today in protest against plans for 1,400 homes.
The demonstration has been organised by the Botley Parish Action Group (BPAG), who were expecting several hundred people to turn out.
Developers want to build the new homes on a golf course near Boorley Green.
Campaigners also say the development would swamp the existing community and would not have the sort of road network, transport and facilities needed to make it properly sustainable.
A spokesman for the project has previously said that the development would bring a host of community facilities, which could include a new primary school, supermarket and sports pitches, as well as economic benefits to Eastleigh borough and could also help to fund a bypass at Sundays Hill, Bursledon.
The site has appeared in Eastleigh Borough Council’s draft local plan, but homebuilders have pressed ahead with submitting a planning application before the council plan has been put to an independent planning inspector.
As recently reported, the plan’s completion could now be set back by up to a year after Hampshire County Council decided not to make land at Woodhouse Lane, in Hedge End, available for development – a site earmarked for 1,000 homes in the plan.
BPAG argues that the planning application is premature, because the draft plan is still the subject of objections.
Former Eastleigh Borough Council chief executive Chris Tapp, who is on the BPAG committee and a member of Botley Park Golfers, said to grant planning permission on a development before the council’s draft plan had been reviewed would be “pre-empting much of that process”.
Mr Tapp added: “We know there’s a need for new housing, but it needs to be in the best place for people already in the borough and equally importantly the best place for those that are going to live there.
“The council have to consider the application, but they should refuse it.
“We’re encouraging people to come if they’re concerned, to say in effect ‘Eastleigh Council, please listen’.”
The event will start at the Botley Community Centre, moving off at midday, and will walk along Botley High Street to Botley Square, dispersing at about 12.30pm.
The road will be closed from midday for around half an hour.