A CONTROVERSIAL bid to build a massive housing estate on Hampshire countryside will be made this month even though the views of the public are still being sought, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Worried campaigners fear an application to build 1,400 homes at Boorley Green will “short circuit” an official review which includes public consultation currently underway.

But a consortium of developers are applying for outline planning permission for the new estate at the end of September.

The controversial proposals, that involve building on Botley Park Golf Course, are part of Eastleigh Borough Council ’s Draft Local Plan – which is out for consultation and has to be approved by an independent inspector.

Those protesting against the development have branded the application “premature”.

Former council chief executive and spokesman for Botley Park golfer Chris Tapp said: “There are many hundreds of objections to the development of the Botley Park golf course, proposed by Eastleigh Council in their Draft Local Plan. So that proposal should be fully tested at the Local Plan Examination, to be held by an independent planning inspector in spring 2013.

“A planning application before then would certainly be premature, and an attempt to short circuit the Local Plan process.”

Botley Parish Action Group (BPAG) called for Eastleigh Borough Council to throw out the plan.

Chairman Sue Grinham said: “BPAG hopes the council area planning team will respect the overwhelming amount of public opposition and the rational arguments against this flawed plan, and allow the local plan process to be completed fully and democratically by refusing to grant this application prematurely.”

Developers argue that the proposals, which would include a new primary school, green spaces and an upgrade for the Botley Park Hotel, will help tackle a housing shortage.

The consortium, Ashill Developments, Southern & Regional Developments and Macdonald Hotels, told the Daily Echo that an application at this stage was common practice.

A spokesman said: “Many of those developing much-needed new homes across the country adopt a similar approach and the consortium responsible for the Boorley Green scheme sees the application submission as the next logical step following the extensive community consultations held in February.

“The consortiums have worked hard to consult with the community and have used feedback received both during and since the community consultations to shape the proposals.”

Eastleigh Borough Council said its planners have to consider any application submitted.

An exhibition about the plans takes place at Botley Park Hotel in Winchester Road on Wednesday, September 12 from 3pm to 8pm.