Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Hedge End's Future: A Lib Dem Concrete Jungle (Part 2)

Unspoilt countryside at Woodhouse Lane 
Huge Housing Estates and Road Gridlock will be the most significant consequence of Lib Dem plans for housing in and around Hedge End, but what does the rest of the Borough Local Plan have in store for Hedge End?

Policy HE1 is concerned with the land to the West of Woodhouse Lane (opposite Hilliers Garden Centre).  Three quarters of the green fields will disappear under concrete for housing, "community facilities", a school (if the Education Authority thinks one is needed) and roads, effectively destroying the countryside gap between Hedge End and Botley.  The developers of the 1,000 houses to be built there will be expected to provide a financial contribution to road improvements.  Although the plan calls for footpath and cycle way links to the surrounding area, there is no protection for the existing right of way or permissive path that cross the site.

Road access to the new housing estates will be from Woodhouse Lane (which is also supposed to be "improved" as part of the indicative route for the Botley bypass), but a "bus-only" link will be provided to Maunsell Way.  It is not clear where this bus-only link will go if it is not to destroy existing footpaths and cycle ways, uproot more trees and hedgerows, or go through the grounds of Berrywood School.

The plan does call for the protection and enhancement of the stream and woodland corridor that meanders across the site and for landscaping and planting along the railway and Woodhouse Lane.

It anticipates that any future planning applications for those areas of Dowd's Farm that are not yet built should be in accordance with the development brief and provide appropriate open space and transport infrastructure (policy HE2).

Another hundred houses will be built on green fields between Foord Road and the motorway (policy HE3).

More green fields will go under policy HE4 which extends the office campus at Pavilion Road across to Woodhouse Lane, despite the wildlife interest present at the location.

Three remaining policies affect the narrow strip of land between the motorway and the A27 at Kanes Hill.  A wooded area will be developed for employment purposes (policy HE5) and a yard for travelling showpeople (policy HE6), and provision is made for a new cemetery (HE7).

Elsewhere in the plan routes are protected for new roads, including the Botley bypass / Woodhouse Lane widening, a new distributor road at Sunday's Hill, improvements to the motorway junctions, and a public transport priority route between Hedge End and Southampton (Strategic Policy S6).

The Council will "seek" to provide new cycleway and footpath links from Boorley Green to Hedge End station, from Botley to Southampton and from Eastleigh to Botley (Strategic Policy S7).

Consultation on the pre-submission draft starts on 17th August and goes on until 12th October, but don't expect the Lib Dems  to go out of their way to tell people.  The Council's web site still has the old, October 2011 version of the plan on its "Draft Local Plan Consultation" page, but the version agreed at Council can be found amongst the many papers presented to the special meeting of the Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel.

Lib Dem Broken Promise 2011

Lib Dem Broken Promise 2012

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