EASTLEIGH council has come under fire from a member of the European Parliament for plans to build more than 6,000 homes near Winchester.

MEP Keith Taylor said he wants council chiefs to reconsider its plans for homes and a new road in Fair Oak and Bishopstoke, known as Options B and C in the borough's Local Plan.

Last month an application to build 250 homes on Mortimers Lane in Fair Oak was approved.

Prior to the meeting, campaign group Action against Destructive Development Eastleigh (ADD) said the application at Pembers Farm undermined the council's consultation process on its new Local Plan, which determines future development.

A draft Local Plan is due to be published later this year.

Mr Taylor, who is a member of the EU's environment committee, said: “Instead of putting our precious and protected environment at risk the council should be taking a more ambitious approach to developing brownfield sites and redeveloping older estates.”

He said the planned homes could impact the River Itchen and that failing to look after the river could mean the UK facing charges in the EU’s Court of Justice.

"It's a world famous chalk stream which brings jobs and money into the economy and which has been afforded the highest possible protection in EU law by virtue of its designation as a Special Area of Conservation [SAC]," he said.

"The council has a legal obligation to maintain the integrity of this site. Any developments likely to have a significant effect on a SAC must be subject to an appropriate assessment and take a precautionary approach that would halt development if serious adverse effects cannot be ruled out.

"Failing to carry out such an assessment properly or failing to comply with its legally binding outcome would be a breach of EU law. In such circumstances the Commission would be entitled to issue proceedings in the Court of Justice.”

A spokesperson for Eastleigh Borough Council declined to comment.