Eastleigh is to have a new housing development for the fields along Chestnut Avenue & Stoneham Lane. One thousand, one hundred dwellings on 62 hectares [a hectare is 10,000 sq metres] or 153 acres. That is 18 houses per hectare or 7-8 per acre.
What will it be like, this new development?
Of course it will have to have “affordable” housing – that politically correct buzzword must be in every application.
Questions for new development
Will it have shops and schools? There will be 2000 children living there. Will there be a GP surgery, nursery, playgrounds and sports areas? Existing playing fields will have to under tarmac and houses. Encouraging, for those who will live there, are nearby woods, railway station, motorway, airport and supermarket.
For the rest of us, will it add something to the environment? Will there be some architectural delight, imagination, feature or uniqueness which will make it a pleasant place to be and to visit? We can do drains, mains services, cavity wall houses and roads. Can we do something aesthetically pleasing for a change?
Architects produce drawings and models which show two or three adults, a motor car, quite a lot of trees and ponds. But in the event there are thousands of people, many of them bored teenagers. There are cars, some households owning up to four. People have caravans, boats, trailers and some have to keep a Ford Transit in a space for a small car. Can the architects design for this?
Can roads be designed so that mothers can wheel pushchairs along the pavement without having to dodge lamp posts, road signs or bins on bin day? Can householders be encouraged not to plant hedges and shrubs that invade the pavement?
Can urban planners be more than urban crammers? I hope so.
Remember the idea of Solent City?
Is it time to resuscitate the idea of Solent City? This grand idea of the 1960’s was killed off by local civic pride of Portsmouth, Southampton and all the places between. From Romsey and Totton along through Southampton, Eastleigh, Bursledon, Hamble, Hedge End, Lee on Solent, Gosport through to Portsmouth and Havant could be part of a large conurbation to rival Birmingham and London. I do not think London would like it to happen.
Solent City now has a population of about 1.5 million. There are 3 universities and the area is the major maritime centre for the UK with its container port, cruise liner terminals, naval base, ferries and the National Oceanographic Centre. It has other industries including computing, oil refinery, and vigorous industrial estates dotted around engaging in research development and high value commercial activities. There is a healthy diversity of activity.
If Chandler’s Ford was part of Solent City and if we had a Boris Johnson character as a figurehead, what then? Westminster would pay court to us and listen more closely to what we had to say. Local transport would be better integrated. Smaller local authorities could be amalgamated easing pressure on the council tax.
On the other hand the civic and commercial rivalry between Southampton and Portsmouth might fade. Without competition Solent City might become a quiet and stagnant megapolis.
- Public Exhibition: Land South Of Chestnut Avenue, North Stoneham Park: Friday 12th December
- Land South of Chestnut Avenue Proposals & Plans: Highwood Group
- Streetlife: Proposed development for North Stoneham
- 1,100 new homes plan (From Daily Echo)
- North Stoneham Park – history, restoration, and threatened development