CAMPAIGNERS believe they have a chance at saving a former boat yard ahead of a public inquiry about plans for turning it into flats.
Dolphin Quay, in Emsworth, occupies a prime position overlooking the picturesque Mill Pond, in Emsworth.
But developers want to knock down the boat yard, a shop and offices to build nine flats.
There is huge opposition to the plans and in July they were turned down by Havant Borough Council on the grounds they would seriously harm the appearance and character of the Conservation Area, the surrounding listed buildings and the character of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which it sits within.
The developers have appealed against the decision and a public hearing led by a government planning inspector will take place on November 20.
But campaigners have also sought to have the plot listed as an asset of community value by the local authority.
If they are successful it means the owners, the Still family, must give the community an opportunity to buy the land ahead of anyone else – a key part of the government’s Localism Act.
Stephanie Elsy, who lives close to the site, in Queens Street, said: ‘I fully support the campaign to save dolphin Quay.
‘Should the owners put it on the market we have six months to put together a bid for the site.
‘This gives us time to do something about it.
‘The action group has a number of people with a lot of experience in development, property and architecture.
‘They feel there is scope for the site to continue to be used for its existing purpose – as a boat yard and for retail.
‘This site is important to Emsworth and we don’t support its change of use.
‘And the design that has been put forward is an over development.
‘It would not be an attractive building. A lot of people object to the modern design.’
The council also felt the developers had not done enough to mitigate flooding or to market the site as a going concern.
The News contacted the owner of the site for comment but they did not respond.
The planning hearing will take place on November 20 at 10am at Havant Borough Council.
It is a public meeting.