Fight is on to stop beauty spot being lost forever

Ron Tate.
Ron Tate.
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PEOPLE are fighting to save one of the last stretches of unspoilt countryside between Portsmouth and Havant.

Fields south of Lower Road, in historic Old Bedhampton, offer picturesque views to walkers, dog-walkers and local families.

But that tranquillity could be under threat amid a housing review by Havant Borough Council.

The land was originally earmarked for 250 homes, but this was angrily opposed by neighbours.

This figure was then reduced to 50, which was also opposed.

The latest controversial proposals are to build a strip of 15 homes along the southern edge of Lower Road – effectively cutting off any views of the countryside.

People are also worried a small development could be the thin end of the wedge and pave the way for more homes.

Ron Tate, of Lodge Road, Bedhampton, said: ‘This is damaging the conservation area by extending into the gap.

‘At the moment you can see the relationship of Old Bedhampton with the surrounding coastal countryside. Once you break that link you have lost it forever.’

Dave Hindley, of Lower Road, was angry as 15 homes will hardly touch the council’s target of 2,788 homes across the borough by 2026.

He said: ‘This isn’t just for the residents – that area is an amenity for all people in Bedhampton and Havant to walk through.’

And there are concerns because the land could be an important site for Brent geese in Langstone Harbour.

Mr Tate added: ‘It may be the land itself does not have any Brent geese, but it’s a buffer. It may be they are feeding further over because this land is a buffer.’

Council leaders have stressed the proposals – which cover housing plans across Havant and Waterlooville – are still out for consultation.

Deputy leader David Guest said: ‘We want to make sure we build houses in the right places and that when people go in there they enjoy the environment and the facilities it provides.

‘The officers are trying very hard to find the right sites – and to do that they are going through a lot of consultation.

‘I think the people of Bedhampton are quite right to put forward their points of view. We will most certainly listen to what they have to say.’

The consultation ends at 9am on January 21. Visit havant.gov.uk.