CAMPAIGNERS think that scheme to build more than 5,000 homes near ancient woodland in Hampshire will be thrown out.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, Eastleigh Borough Council indicated the area to the north and east of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak as the preferred location for a new development which could see 5,200 new homes, shops, schools, open spaces and a new access road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak.

However, during a council meeting held on Thursday night, councillors stressed that the works are still in progress and more evidence is still needed before taking a decision.

Indeed, the final decision on the plans, known as option B and C in the borough’s Local Plan, could be made as late as this winter after the council has considered the results of surveys aimed at showing the impact that the development could have on transport and environment.

Now members of the action group called Action against Destructive Development Eastleigh (ADD) said that the outcome of the meeting gave them a “great glimpse of hope.”

John Lauwerys, members of ADD, said: “ The evidence is not there yet and we believe that the evidence, when it is all complete, will prove our point that options B and C are not the best options.

“ Even if the council will choose B and C we’ll keep fighting because we believe that the plan will be found unsound by the planning inspector.”

During the meeting the impacts the development will have on traffic, environment, local infrastructures, the River Itchen and ancient woodland such as Upper Barn and Crowdhill Copse woods, were cited by objectors as the main reasons the new development should not be built in that area.

Responding to objectors, Cllr Keith House, leader of the council, said the council is very much aware of some of those concerns and will be looking at them “incredibly seriously” before making any decision. He said that there are still quite a lot of evidence to assess.

Yesterday, in an official statement, the council said: “ The Council is also committed to ensuring that the environment and important habitats including ancient woodland and River Itchen are properly protected along with the conservation of the wide diversity of wildlife that live in the area. The council will ensure that an engagement process is undertaken before a final decision is made: anticipated to be later in the year.”