The fight to save Eastleigh’s heritage - unitary diary and “The Parlour”

The old unitary dairy buildings are due to be destroyed and replaced by EBC - as ever they own the land and give themselves the planning applications.

To date residents have been knowingly mislead on what is going to replace it - currently it’s three storey flats with no parking.

What’s happened so far?

  • The building has been scheduled for demolition in June

  • Residents have neither been consulted or listened to

  • Heritage England are now reviewing whether to protect the site

  • Current councillors have not registered any support for residents

  • The council have released The Parlour designs, current councillors confirmed they’d never heard of it - despite it having a design, a name and an outline plan

Residents consultation has now moved beyond the local elections to week commencing May 17th - for obvious reasons

  • Residents have started a petition to pre-empt council behaviour - with no support from elected councillors, they’ve started to take control of the situation

Why is the building important?

The building is a former cooperative dairy and represents a period of time in Eastleigh that was representative of a better time - community, opportunity, fairness.

The building predates the welfare state and highlights just how much better Eastleigh can be - there’s no need for overdevelopment that demolishes Eastleigh’s heritage.

On May 6th 2021, we’re going to make Eastleigh better. Let’s stop this assault on our heritage, let’s prioritise the community and let’s work together. Your vote will make sure of it.


I recently raised a Freedom of Information request regarding this issue - as we can see, there clearly are plans.

Eastleigh Borough Council have opted to refuse my Freedom of Information request and hold back the plans they have for this site. Here’s the request and response in full:

Date: 19/03/2021
Name: Sam Jordan
Reasons for FOI: matter of public interest

Please provide all information relating to the Eastleigh Borough Council development named ‘The Parlour’.

This should include;

  • current considerations for the site
  • current proposals that the council are considering
  • any consultancy provided in regards to development of the site
  • any feedback received from local residents regarding development of the site
  • any cost estimates for site development

All information should be provided in digital format and there is no requirement for physical copies.

Regarding your question about current proposals, including cost estimates that the council are considering for site development, Unfortunately, the Council is unable to disclose this information to you as Regulation 12(4)(d) EIR states “… a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that—
(d) the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data”.

The Council also relies upon the exception under regulation 12(4)(e) that “the request involves the disclosure of internal communications”.

The exceptions under Regulation 12(4)(d) and 12(4)(e) are a ‘qualified exceptions’ and it is therefore necessary to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. In applying the public interest test to the exception referred to above, I have considered the following factors and reached the view that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Factors considered relevant to the public interest in maintaining the exceptions:
• delaying disclosure of work in progress allows the Council to produce a final or completed version. This allows the Council to finish ongoing work without interruption and interference from outside

• disclosing information that is unfinished or incomplete could give a misleading or inaccurate impression.

• the internal decision-making process is protected from scrutiny, in order to allow the Council to discuss and consider the merits of proposals and implications of decisions.

Factors considered relevant to the public interest in disclosing the information:
• Promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken by them and the spending of public money.

• Enabling the public to understand decisions made and actions taken by public authorities.

In all circumstances the Council considers that the public interest in maintaining the exemption prevails.

In relation to the request for current considerations for the site, information has been published on our website giving information of how to register your interest in forthcoming public engagement sessions. This information is available at: The Parlour

A number of specialist consultancies have been appointed to undertake the site surveys and satisfy the planning conditions prior to the demolition (as approved by Prior Notification ref PN/20/89301). Feedback from residents has not been received as the engagement process has yet to commence. Public comments on the application for demolition are available on the planning register if you search under PN/20/89301 using the link below: Eastleigh Planning Applications

The consultants that have been appointed are:

• John Associates (Ecologist) – John Associates produced initial Ecological Appraisal Report to support PN submission.
• Ecosa (Ecologist) – Ecosa has been appointed to carry out nesting bird checks to satisfy planning condition.
• Claque (Architect) – Claque produced plans for PN submission and Feasibility Study.
• Soils Ltd (Ground Investigation consultant) – Soils Ltd are carrying out ground investigation to satisfy planning condition.
• Envirochem – Asbestos surveys for both building to support PN submission and also condition
• AKS Ward – Structural Survey of both buildings

Worried? I am too. Let’s vote to make Eastleigh better: I'm Voting to Make Eastleigh Better

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More here on our attempt to get the building listed

Silence from Eastleigh Borough Council on this so far.

It might look hideous at the moment


Clearly this is something you are very passionate about @Sam4eastleigh which is great. But can I ask what you think should be done with the building should it be saved from being demolished?

Paint thrown all over it, original features covered over, clock and weather vain removed… plus I was misquoted here. That’ll teach me for not writing one down!

First priority is what do residents want. Big issue for them is parking, followed by privacy (if it’s developed in to three storeys). For me, this represents a perfect replacement for the Old Sorting Office, providing the parking requirements can be met (which they can by the looks of it). I’m discussing this with residents at both the gym and OSO.

Currently the proposed new location for the Old Sorting Office isn’t suitable (ISL building opposite Bishopstoke Bridge). Needs investment to enable it to be served by utilities, parking, disabled access and it has a number of other issues.

What would be better than a local creative space that is located near schools and colleges, champions local business and has the option for a small shop/wine bar/news agent/bakery/other? All of this and maintains a historic building that pre-dates the welfare state, represents the historic cooperative movement and demonstrates a focus on local people?


Ok these sound good. Maybe I can put a request in for a wine bar :wink: haha!
I actually used to enjoy going to Samson gym - until I found out about the owner!!!


I wasn’t a user (as you’ll have guessed if you’d seen me perform any kind of exercise) but most of my friends used it on and off, and it had a great community down there.

Lots of good people used the gym in its various iterations over the years and it feels like the residents liked having it close by.

I know people have enquired about it over the last few years to do similar or alternative things and were cold-shouldered by EBC… seems strange considering it’s history.

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Yes it was good to have it within walking distance - I’ve since joined spirit health club.

So is that a no to the wine bar then haha!

It seems like something like that might work - the Steel Tank in Central Precinct does well and that closes at 10pm (I think pre-covid).

People want the building the stay, residents want parking resolved and we (as a community) want successful local businesses - there’s definitely a solution here that meets all requirements.

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Good luck for trying to find a solution for all of that.

On the parking thing - it’s a town centre with houses built c1900, what do people expect? We have excellent public transport links and for those with a car the permits are cheap compared with other areas of the country. And I say this as someone who lives in a 1890s house with no off road parking - but I knew this when I bought the house.

Hopefully the space can be used for an independent business, and not a chain!!


Not sure this is quite fair. If you buy/live somewhere and suddenly 30 flats are built on a road where you already pay to park, it doesn’t feel right to me.

Would have to disagree with you here. Rail and bus services are expensive compared to other parts of the U.K. and are not timely enough to add real value and get people out of cars. Bus from Eastleigh to Fair Oak is every two hours or something - that can’t be right.

This is relative, right? Why should someone with a small house and presumably smaller income pay more council tax than someone who can afford a larger house with off road parking? Doesn’t feel fair to me. Moreover, residents were promised a free parking permit - this as been broken.

This we do agree on - it can be done!

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Ok we can agree to disagree on some of these points. :blush: and glad we agree on the last one as that’s hugely important to me!

I will just add that I didn’t mention anything about council tax sam - just the permits which is paid to HCC isn’t it?. Which are all priced the same regardless of income or size of house. I feel this is fair - same way we pay road tax. Also I believe residents were given free permits that only ended last year. I have lived here 8 years and always paid for my permit and do not begrudge it in anyway. If people can’t afford £30 for a permit perhaps they can’t afford the car in the first place! Controversial statement I know!

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A post was split to a new topic: Car Parking Permit Charging Unfair?

Latest update on Samson’s Gym development.

Despite having ‘no plans for the site’, Eastleigh Borough Council have:

  • hired a consultant (shock, more money on consultants fees) to argue that the building isn’t of historical value
  • removed the Eastleigh Basics Food Bank for the building, forcing them to pay for storage elsewhere

Current Councillors have refused to support the application to protect this building or step in to support residents with their fears over the development of the three storey block of flats.

Any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. (

We’ve been out delivering leaflets and posters to support the campaign to Save Samson’s. :weight_lifting_woman:

We’re fighting to save Eastleigh’s history and secure a long term alternative use for the Old Dairy. The possibilities are endless and they pay for themselves:

  • cafe? 🧋
  • bar?:beers:
  • educational site for local children? :children_crossing:
  • collaborative work space?:chart_with_upwards_trend:
  • gym? :weight_lifting_woman:
  • museum? :scroll:
  • library? :books:
  • local shop?:convenience_store:

Let’s Save Samson’s! Get in touch if you’d like a ‘Save Samson’s’ poster for your window! (Email:


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We’ve delivered over 2000 leaflets and there’s lots of window posters up across Eastleigh supporting the preservation of this historic building!

We have been in contact with Historic England and requested support from the specific government department.

You can still show your support for saving this historic building by signing the petition or requesting a poster from me:

Let’s save Eastleigh’s history!


:rotating_light:Samson’s Update :rotating_light:

Some sad news to bring you. Despite the astronomical effort of the community in Eastleigh, the government have decided NOT to protect the Old Dairy on Derby Road.

As part of their response, Eastleigh Borough Council stated that they saw no value in keeping this historic building (its been here longer than the airport!).

The council and councillors have been fighting hard at every stage to ignore residents and press on with their multi-storey demolition and development.

There is an appeals process that is being considered and we have 28 days to do so. However, given the Eastleigh Borough Council’s determination to demolish Eastleigh’s history, it’s looking like a real challenge.

I’ll share more in the coming days - thanks for all those who have supported. It’s not over yet.



Sad to hear of the council’s continued headlong charge into removing any historical features in the town. The site had the potential to be many things vital to the community. Well done for taking up the fight to try and get it listed.


:rotating_light:Samsons Update​:rotating_light:

A very short update - we were not successful in our national listing of the Old Dairy but all is not lost. Eastleigh Borough Council can still list the building locally. This means the council has full responsibility of what can happen to this historic building.

Tonight there is a meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee (ELAC) - I understand that an independent member of the committee (I.e. not a Lib Dem member) will raise the question regarding a local listing tonight.

This is all theoretical at the moment and as the Lib Dem’s on the council have shown no appetite to protect Eastleigh’s heritage, it may be a struggle. That said, we have something to aim at and our fight continues.

You can sign the petition here and help our community protect our shared history: