For king and con­ser­va­tion

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IN Hamp­shire, the coun­cil at Eastleigh is con­sid­er­ing a plan to put 6,300 homes on green fields, served by a by­pass squeezed be­tween two an­cient pro­tected wood­lands once used by King John.

Equally se­ri­ous is that the by­pass will in­trude on and then cross the River Itchen, which en­joys the EU’S high­est level of pro­tec­tion as a Spe­cial Area of Con­ser­va­tion (SAC). The Itchen is world fa­mous as a clas­sic chalk­stream and con­ser­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions are livid, par- tic­u­larly the Wood­land Trust (it owns the key woods) and the CPRE. A lo­cal cam­paign group, Ac­tion Against De­struc­tive Devel­op­ment (ADD)— or ADD’S Army (www.add-eastleigh.org)—ad­vo­cates more sus­tain­able devel­op­ment op­tions.

The scheme is op­posed by three lo­cal Tory MPS and a Green Party MEP, Keith Tay­lor. The EU fine for dam­ag­ing a SAC could be about €40 mil­lion (£34.2 mil­lion). The Gov­ern­ment stated re­cently that an­cient wood­lands should be as pro­tected as green fields. Gra­ham Mole

The River Itchen is renowned for its world-class trout fish­ing, es­pe­cially dur­ing mayfly sea­son

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