IT WAS good to see Chris Packham’s views on option B/C of the Eastleigh Local Plan in your paper.
I totally agree that to drive a road through the north Bishopstoke area will be nothing short of ecological vandalism in respect of the damage that will ensue to the areas of precious ancient woodland.
There has been much comment from Eastleigh council regarding the fact that the new road will not actually pass though the woodland, but this is disingenuous to say the least! The road will establish an ecological separation zone between the woodlands and cause irreparable damage to the sustainability of these areas by interrupting the natural flow of wildlife that is, at present, maintained by the open fields that are in danger of being built upon!
The article also draws attention to the Itchen Valley SAC – protected at the highest level of European Conservation and home to the southern damselfly, again protected in law and a species extremely sensitive to the environmental disruption that will be caused by the major building and infrastructure that option B/C will generate.
Let me also mention another aspect of this fantasy – the new road is planned to pass under the existing Allbrook Railway Arch which is low and narrow and, over many years, the subject of numerous truck impacts and flooding incidents.
Relying on this vulnerable structure for a proposed major strategic highway beggars belief. You could not make it up!
Although numbers and supporting statistics have been generated to support housing numbers – to an extent based on the original Local Plan 2011-29 rejected by the government inspector – I still draw attention to what I consider the elephant in the room. This is the apparent need for 6000, give or take, new homes in the period to 2036. The borough is one of the most densely populated areas in the south and better sharing of resources is required with adjacent authorities to help spread the housing load.
Such is the sensitive nature of the B/C option route that, if adopted, it will again be vulnerable to rejection by the inspector and open to legal challenge at European level that will make the plan unworkable.
We really need to get some proper joined-up thinking going!