EASTLEIGH could do so much better.

Those were the words of campaigners meeting to discuss their plans to fight the borough's emerging Local Plan.

Action Against Destructive Development (ADD) came together to talk about future housing development in the area and Eastleigh Borough Council plans which they say will result in a "giant urban sprawl".

A Local Plan is a blueprint for future housing developments which guides decisions on planning applications.

Eastleigh Borough Council's target was to deliver 16,250 homes by 2036, but a previous Local Plan for 2011-2036 was thrown out by a government inspector back in 2014.

The ADD meeting at Bishopstoke Methodist Church was one in a series at different locations including Colden Common and Fair Oak which will be impacted by the final Local Plan.

The preferred options of Eastleigh Borough Council - known as Options B and C - would see 5,200 homes built to the north and east of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak, as well as new shops, schools, open spaces and a new bypass.

But campaigner Gil Tidridge outlined reasons the group believe Options B and C should not go ahead, including damage to ancient woodland, wildlife and increased traffic.

Options B and C have sparked a fierce debate between councillors, residents and naturalists because of the proximity of the proposed development to ancient woodland such as Upper Barn and Crowdhill Copse woods and the impact on rare breeds.

Ms Tidridge, who is also a parish councillor for Bishopstoke, said: “The area is full of incredibly diverse wildlife. It is really important that we preserve the local biodiversity. We just think Eastleigh can be so much better.”

Cllr Tildridge went on to describe communities and local government minister Sajid Javid's announcement that government could intervene in the Local Plan's development as “a curveball.”

As reported in the Daily Echo, bosses at Eastleigh Borough Council were told that they have ten weeks to produce a Local Plan or face the government stepping in to do it for them.

Cllr Tildridge said: “We don’t know if this will be positive or negative for our campaign yet.”

Cllr Sue Cook, who represents Colden Common and Tywford parishes, told the meeting that the leader of Winchester City Council Caroline Horrill had written to Eastleigh Borough Council leader Cllr Keith House to express her concern and that they were not “satisfied with the extent of the dialogue” that had taken place.

“Winchester is of the opinion they are really not happy with the way Eastleigh has conducted themselves,” she added.

Eastleigh Borough Council will meet at The Hilton at the Ageas Bowl on December 11 to consider the draft Local Plan.