THE battle to save a boatyard from being demolished and flats built in its place has been won – for now.
A hearing was due to be held earlier this month by the government’s planning inspector into whether Havant Borough Council made the right decision to turn down the plans for Dolphin Quay, Emsworth.
The hearing was cancelled at the last minute and the developer has now withdrawn the appeal for good.
But it does not mean Wilson House has given up.
Campaigners from the Dolphin Quay Action Group say they believe the developer is going back to the drawing board and will submit a new planning application for the plot in Queen Street.
At the moment the quay is taken up with a large shop, offices and a boatyard.
Lorraine Clode, co-ordinator of the group, said: ‘In a sense, perhaps a battle has been won. But certainly not the war.
‘We’re still concerned about there being a residential development there.
‘Some new environmental reports have been requested by the inspector.
‘Hopefully the developer will wait until such a time as all the reports are in and take into account comments made by residents and the action group before submitting new plans.’
The group has requested that the borough council list the site as a community asset, which would mean people have the right to bid on it ahead of it going on general sale.
It is in the final stages of the application.
But Mrs Clode said buying the site themselves would be a last resort.
‘We’re taking this one step at a time,’ she said.
‘By putting it on the community register it says this is an asset and it’s important.
‘What we do next all depends very much on what the revised plans look like.
‘We believe it was not marketed properly as a going concern and it should have been.’
She added: ‘We don’t want to see residential properties obliterating what could still be an on-going boatyard and commercial offices where there is still a need.
‘I’m not convinced there needs to be a change of use.’
Council planners felt the developers had not done enough to mitigate flooding or to market the site as a going concern.