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Campaigners step up fight against controversial plans
7:23am Monday 24th September 2012 in News
“SAVE our green spaces from being concreted over.”
That was the message from campaigners who are battling to save under-threat sites in Eastleigh .
Waving placards and shouting slogans, they rallied their troops in Leigh Road Recreational Ground in Eastleigh which is also at risk.
Two groups fighting against development plans – Save the REC and Save Stoneham Park – have now joined forces under the slogan “Save our Green Spaces and Strategic Green Gaps”.
Organiser Pat Ford said: “We both feel that the green areas that are under threat are part of Eastleigh’s heritage and so we felt we could join together.
“It is just wrong to just concrete over a green space which lots of people enjoy.”
Council housing bosses have earmarked 1,300 homes for an area of land measuring 61 hectares from Stoneham Lane across to the M3 motorway and Chestnut Avenue down to the borough’s boundary.
For campaigner Sam Snook, 77, of Burns Close, who has lived near Stoneham Park all his life, losing the green spaces would be a personal disaster.
He said: “It would break my heart because it was where I spent my childhood – and I feel if I don’t fight for this it will not be there for future generations”.
This was echoed by fellow pensioner Ken Wellstood, 82, from Sparrow Square. He said: “They are the town’s green lungs. We have already lost a lot of our allotments.”
Residents also fear for the historic Leigh Road Recreational Ground as the neighbouring town centre retail giant Sainsbury bids to expand its store on to the land.
The park, which contains the town’s bandstand and war memorial, has reduced in size over the years with extensions to The Point and a hard-standing area alongside the current Sainsbury’s store most recently built on the green area.
Resident Kameill Healey, 43, said: “They are building all over our green spaces.
It’s where people take their dogs and go for walks.
“And all this is at a time when they are trying to encourage people to be more active and more healthy, but there will not be any open spaces to do this.”
Also attending the rally was former Eastleigh mayor Councillor Glynn Davies- Dear, who left the ruling Lib Dems after being disillusioned.
He said: “People are confused and worried and frankly uncertain about the future.”