A ROW has broken out after plans for 5,200 homes near ancient woodland in Hampshire were turned down.

Planning inspector Christa Masters said the plans to build 5,200 new homes and a new access road on land between Bishopstoke and Fair Oak should be removed from Eastleigh Borough Council’s local plan.

She said the process of considering the reasonable alternatives was “flawed”.

The council has now been asked to reconsider the proposals.

Writing on social media, Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes told Eastleigh Borough Council leader that the plan was unworkable.

He wrote: “Your flagship element of the plan, which you personally championed, has been ruled out of scope and your processes questioned in evaluating other sites.

“The local plan is in tatters.”

But Cllr House said: “The planning inspectorate has endorsed a route for the council to achieve an adopted local plan, sought additional information that we will progress, and recommended that long-term growth be considered in a future review of the local plan.

“There is a real risk that pressure group ADD will mislead residents.  The inspector has not rejected the strategic growth option and has been very clear to say so.  “What the council has been asked to do it to provide more evidence on long-term growth, following achieving significant levels of new homes in recent years.  We will do so.  “The overall case is clear that the only deliverable option to tackle traffic congestion and still keep the separate identity of our communities is growth in the north of the borough.  “The council will assess the inspector’s letter in detail and respond in due course.”

He also said the authority remains committed to protecting green gaps and securing the Chickenhall Lane Link Road.

“In the meantime the cabinet will look to progress getting the Local Plan adopted as quickly as realistically possible”, Cllr House added.

The authority stressed that its proposed SGO has not been dismissed nor found unviable.

Members of action group, Action Against Destructive Development (ADD) said the inspector’s recommendation is exactly what ADD has been campaigning for since 2016 and have now offered to work with the council.

As previously reported, the proposals for 5,200 homes - better known as option B and C - were backed by Eastleigh councillors in 2017.

Campaigners had raised concerns over the impact the development would have on pollution, traffic and ancient woodland and asked the council to consider other options such as the expansion of Bishopstoke to the south and Horton Heath to the west (option D) and the extension of West End to the north of the M27 (option E).

Inspector Christa Masters described the consideration of alternative options as “inadequate”.

She added: “I therefore conclude that these policies should, therefore, be deleted from the local plan.“ She also said the council had provided “very little evidence” to support the inclusion of the Chickenhall Lane Link Road in the plan.