Why is the new community north of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak the Council's preferred option?
The Council has carefully assessed all the options for major growth (Strategic Growth Option, SGO), and recognises that each has their advantages and disadvantages. Following the completion of a number of key investigative studies, such as in transport and habitat surveys, the Council has selected this option because it considers it will improve the shopping and community facilities at Fair Oak, provide a new link road to minimise traffic congestion, and protect countryside gaps between different towns and villages.
It is recognised that any of the options, including this one, would involve the loss of local countryside and would be close to important environmental sites. Therefore the development will need to be carefully designed.
The Council has completed detailed environmental assessments to ensure the right protections are in place. The Local Plan’s policies require strong protection of the surrounding environment, including green buffers between the development and the ancient woodlands / tributaries streams, protection of the River Itchen habitats, and the protection or enhancement of green links for wildlife corridors.
The Local Plan’s vision is to create two distinct communities with new shopping areas, schools, doctor’s surgeries, jobs, green open spaces, and pedestrian / cycle routes.
One of the benefits of focusing development in one place is that it helps to maximise the investment available for the infrastructure which is needed (for example, the new link road, schools, community facilities and open spaces). The Council continues to work closely with organisations that will provide this infrastructure to understand the detail of these issues further.