Chandler’s Ford is changing. Recent changes are in its centre, wherever that is, its public buildings, new community halls, library, parks, shops and recreational facilities. Even Eastleigh Borough Council has recently moved into new premises.
Less obvious but marching slowly on are changes in its older residential areas.
Modernising older houses?
About one third of Eastleigh housing is over 50 years old. Many of the older houses are in need of upgrading or modernising. Many of our bungalows are on generously sized plots of land by today’s standards and the accommodation they provide is limited. Owners are gradually extending or rebuilding them.
When change affects us, but is not determined by us, we feel disturbed and we don’t like it. When houses change, their change is a contract between the owner and the local authority. As individuals we can only influence that change through a partial contract with the local authority; the other parties to the contract are the authority itself and its policies and the national government policies.
Your right: inspecting and commenting on planning applications
The wise owner keeps neighbours informed about what he intends to do. The plans are available for inspection at the Borough Council and comment for a period of 21 days is available for us. Luckily, our authority – Eastleigh Borough Council – has a good and comprehensive website through which you can see the plans and comment or object.
Browse through the planning applications and you soon get a feel for what is permitted and what is not. Some areas permit conversion of houses to flats, others permit in-filling of large gardens with additional houses. In other areas the authority strives to retain the existing character. The staff at Eastleigh Borough Council are helpful and you can go and discuss matters with them and see the plans.
If you do not like what is proposed you can object on the grounds listed.
|Grounds for Objection||Not Grounds for Objection|
|Contrary to Eastleigh Borough Plan||Moral, racial or religious objections|
|Against government policy||Local opposition|
|Highway safety and traffic||Devaluation of property|
|Inadequate parking or services||Loss of private view|
|Excessive noise, dust or smell||Breach of covenant|
|Poor design||Boundary disputes|
|Loss of trees||Proposed internal layout|
|Loss of privacy||Views on the character of applicant|
|Overdevelopment / excessive density||Matters covered by other regulations. Example: Building regulations|
When all is done and the building complete, Chandler’s Ford housing is improved. The new house or extension will be built to modern standards, energy efficient and adequately insulated, a dwelling better suited to today’s living and providing more living space.
Then people like to discuss the aesthetics of a development. John Betjeman wrote about “red-brick rashes.” Ian Nairn riled against what he called the “forces of subtopia”. E M Forster wrote of suburbs “where success was indistinguishable from failure.” All were forcefully expressing our unease at change but none of them came up with a better architectural design for housing.
(hat tip: Mike Liddicoat)