AN ACTION group has hit out at the leader of the Lib Dems for backing plans on thousands of new homes near ancient woodland.

Members of Action against Destructive Development Eastleigh (ADD) said Vince Cable “talked complete nonsense about local issues” when he visited Eastleigh last week.

As previously reported, during his visit, Sir Vince met town bosses and backed their plans aimed at meeting the housing need across the borough.

These include proposals to build 5,200 new homes near ancient woodland between Fair Oak and Bishopstoke.

He said the area was in desperate need for new houses and praised the strategy adopted by the council, saying it combines plans for ambitious housing developments with a good environmental policy.

In a statement ADD members said: “On a recent visit to Eastleigh the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable made some outrageously misleading comments about the council’s plans to submerge the villages of Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Allbrook and wreak havoc on the natural environment.

“Cable is an honourable man, but we do not imagine that he has had time to study the borough’s Local Plan and the evidence (or lack of) to support it.

“We can safely assume that, when he spoke to the Daily Echo, he was repeating in good faith what he had been told by party colleagues in Eastleigh.”

Sir Vince had previously said that he understood the council was trying to create garden villages to protect the green land between Eastleigh and Southampton.

But protesters are now asking him to answer more questions and consider the impact the proposed development near ancient woodland in Fair Oak and Bishopstoke would have on the environment and the existing villages.

The group added: “Where are the plans for garden villages? They certainly have not been made public.

“And what does he say to people living in Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Allbrook, who would see their villages disappear into a mass of urban sprawl?

“Is he aware that the green and sensitive development he refers to will destroy over 800 acres of prime countryside?”

But civic chiefs in Eastleigh said their choice is “the most logical option”.

The Daily Echo contacted Sir Vince for a comment, but he was unable to provide one before the paper went to press.