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Battle against huge housing development at Boorley Green is lost
IT is one of the most controversial housing schemes for a Hampshire village in a generation.
Contentious plans for 1,400 homes on a golf course in Boorley Green climaxed in hundreds of angry residents taking to the streets for a mass rally.
But a last ditch plan to overturn Eastleigh Borough Council’s decision to accept the proposals – which villagers say will swamp roads, schools and services – now lies in tatters.
Members of Botley Parish Council have unanimously agreed to abandon their plans to appeal for a judicial review into the authority’s decision.
It follows legal advice from a specialist planning barrister that a challenge to the council on the application’s “prematurity”
in relation to the borough’s Local Plan for housing had less chance of succeeding than previously thought.
As earlier reported, more than 600 people marched through Botley in protest at the plans and the parish council wanted to establish a £5,000 “war chest” in preparation for the appeal.
Parish council chairman Cllr Colin Mercer said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the lawyer’s findings – stressing he had already collected £4,000 for the appeal with a total of £15,000 promised by residents.
He said: “We had enough funding and people were donating and voting with their purses as well as their feet. But if the legal opinion is that we can’t go down this route then we can’t be reckless and spend this money.
“All these donations will now be returned early in the new year.”
Resident Laura Heaven, 45, who lives in Oatlands Road, said: “We are really disappointed – it seems as if the parish council has given up.
“There isn’t the infrastructure for that many houses here. There is a need for housing but it should be in another location.”
“But unless parish councils get a greater say in applications this kind of thing will happen.
“Wherever the housing goes it is going to upset someone. But we feel there are more viable alternatives.”
and added: “The parish council have taken legal advice against what was proposed but now they realise the borough council has acted properly.
“We are very keen to work with the parish council and feel the local community will benefit from the development.”
Cllr Mercer denied the parish council is giving up and said: “Promoting the interests and wellbeing of Botley’s residents remains our primary objective and we will focus on seeking measures to mitigate the impact on the wider community of the development.”
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