A ‘PARKING war’ could emerge and create a ghost town if a development goes ahead, traders have warned.
Anthony Walker, whose family have run Bentley Walker on Hayling Island for 70 years, says now is a crucial moment for whether one of the island’s main centres, Mengham, becomes a vibrant hub or goes into decline.
It comes as developers have appealed to the government against Havant Borough Council’s decision to refuse a three-storey development of 44 sheltered apartments on the old Pullingers site in Elm Grove.
The development would have had just 14 parking spaces – in an area that is already heavily congested at peak times.
The Pullingers site has been used for parking in Mengham for the past 10 years, particularly by parents on the school run.
To make matters worse, the closed Hayling Billy pub and its car park – owned by the Co-op – is earmarked for more potential development.
It comes as hundreds of new homes are being built on Hayling Island and congestion is increasing.
Mr Walker, 67, said: ‘Elm Grove is facing a massive challenge from development in my view without any real consideration for the future.
‘Currently we face a parking war and that’s before many new houses are even built.
‘As a local resident all my life and Hayling businessman, I feel that Elm Grove urgently needs a plan for the future before we see overdevelopment without new amenities including new parking.
‘Elm Grove has the ability to either be a ghost town if we let planning go ahead without consideration for the future, or could be a new vibrant area with new shops and plenty of local amenities.’
Mr Walker has drawn up a plan for the future of the area, including having more parking, shops and creating a more attractive high street.
Tina Boys, who runs Tastebuds sandwich shop in Elm Grove, said: ‘If you are going to build more houses, we need the infrastructure.’
Developers told the planning committee in December that the apartments were ‘very well-located’.
All representations must reach The Planning Inspectorate by March 23.