Botleigh Grange is a historical jewel in Hedge End's architectural crown, yet local Lib Dems voted in July to include the parkland (currently with grazing highland cattle) between the hotel and Grange Road as a possible location for development.
According to the Council, up to 135 houses or flats could be built on the last remnants of the historic deer park, completely obscuring the view of the historic house and destroying its character. This, despite the parkland and the trees on the site being protected by existing legislation.
The Lib Dems say they need to find sites for a thousand more houses (in addition to those included in the current opinion survey) but have decreed that discussions about them be closed to the public and kept secret until they have decided which additional green fields will be sacrificed to development.
With the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition deciding that "sustainable" development is more important than protecting the environment according to a recently published consultation, things look bad for our green fields.
There is a tradition that Oliver Cromwell stayed at Botleigh Grange in the seventeenth century. Perhaps we need some of his spirit to save Hedge End's green spaces in the twenty-first!
These green fields are labelled HE5 on the Council's map of "small greenfield sites".