EASTLEIGH by-election candidates have slammed the decision to allow 1,400 new homes to be built on countryside in the constituency.

Last night councillors voted through the proposals that would see the massive development built on land at Boorley Green near Botley.

Despite last ditch pleas from residents who said the development would “tear the community apart” Eastleigh Borough councillors gave the green light to the controversial scheme.

But the move has been condemned by candidates in the upcoming by-election.

Conservative hopeful, Maria Hutchings, said: “I've consistently campaigned against inappropriate development in Eastleigh.“Eastleigh Lib Dems have ridden roughshod over local resident's concerns by voting for part of their wider plan to build 5,000 houses on green spaces - despite their campaign promising to protect green spaces.

“The Lib Dems must now come clean about the reality of their plans to the people of Eastleigh”

Labour candidate John O'Farrell said: "This development is the worst of both worlds.

"The council have failed to take seriously the concerns of local people and the loss of green spaces, and also failed to address the lack of affordable housing.

"While Tory chairman Grant Shapps and Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg carry on with their phoney war of words, thousands of young people in Eastleigh can't take their first step on the housing ladder."

UKIP candidate Diane James added: “The sites selected by Eastleigh Borough Council are seriously flawed in terms of choice.

“They are completely inappropriate in terms of local infrastructure and with 50 per cent of sites being greenfield they mean the loss of much cherished community's and leisure facilities.

But Eastleigh Borough Council's Lib Dem leaders said that they had “saved scores of green spaces in the borough” by pressing ahead with the plans.

Council leader Keith House said: “The Conservatives say they are in favour of green spaces but their by-election candidate stays silent, the neighbouring MP supports 10,000 new homes, the Conservative Planning Minister, Nick Boles instructs us to concrete over open land and their county council spends money on itself rather than much-needed traffic improvements in Eastleigh.

“By contrast Liberal Democrats take the responsible action on development, ensuring future generations can afford to live in Eastleigh while protecting green spaces across the borough from the threat of Tory in-fill.”

Members of the council's planning committee last night voted in favour of the Boorley Green development, which will also include a new primary school, shops plus sewage and road improvements.

The decision was made at around 12.45am this morning, despite hundreds of residents packing out the meeting at Kings Community Church in Hedge End to voice their objections.