Monday, 21 May 2012

Lib Dem Bulldozer - Bad News for Countryside

More Building and Traffic at Dowd's Farm   
As yet more of Hedge End's ancient countryside disappears under concrete at Dowd's Farm Urban Park, the party that claims to "stand up against more building and traffic" votes to support plans to build thousands of houses on green fields in Hedge End and Botley.

Honourable Exceptions

At last week's Town Council meeting, the Lib Dems had an opportunity to keep their repeated election campaign promises to oppose further development, but with a few honourable exceptions the majority felt unable to stand up to their leadership and fell in line to support the Borough's draft local plan.

My motion, urging the Borough Council to revisit its plans for massive housing developments on our local green fields was defeated by 14 votes to two, with four abstentions.

Broken Promises
Lost Countryside

The Woodhouse Lane site, where 1,000 new houses are planned (opposite Hilliers) is the last area of land within the historic boundaries of Hedge End where you can walk without being only a few yards from housing or roads.  It is also the last area of land dedicated to agriculture in what was once a farming village, our last living link with Hedge End's heritage.

One of the arguments put forward in favour of the draft local plan is that "it is not just about houses" but includes provision for sports fields - probably alongside the railway.  That's  fine for youngsters who want to play football, but what about other people who just like the chance for a walk along ancient rights of way in relative tranquillity, whose hobby might be bird-watching, or who are just excited by the occasional glimpse of a deer, or buzzard, or kestrel?  Kestrels used to hover over Dowd's Farm, but no longer.

There should be a place for informal exercise and recreation in unspoiled countryside.  We don't need every green space to be managed, mown and exploited for council revenue.

Two of These Lib Dems Say No but Vote Yes
Broken Lib Dem Promises

The disease that has affected the Lib Dems nationally has spread to the local party.  The party that promised prior to the 2010 general election to vote against any increase in tuition fees has twice in Hedge End promised to oppose more building and traffic in our area, while behind the scenes it has been planning to allow nearly 4,000 new houses.

The leadership's justification is that as long as people keep voting Lib Dem, they must be happy
with what the council is doing.  If that is the case, why did they go through an expensive consultation exercise? 

The 1000 Hedge End people who voted Lib Dem on May 3rd are being used to justify a policy which affects all 21,000 people who live in Hedge End.

Links to others' opinions:
Eastleigh News
Hedge End Independent

1 comment:

  1. I suspect there might be even more behind the current rush to develop Hedge End than meets the eye.

    Are we only getting part of the the story by following the events at EBC and HETC...?

    I say that because besides being leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, with the power & influence to push through these plans, Cllr House's register of interests currently shows that he is (amongst other things) a board member of SEEDA, a board member of the Homes & Communities Agency and a member of the Royal Town Planning institute...

    I'd like to know what happens in those other organisations. Do things that are decided in those other bodies determine what Cllr House has to push through in Eastleigh and Hedge End, despite all the local opposition...?