Fear over future of countryside amid homes plan near Rowlands Castle

Councillor Marge Harvey discusses plans for another development in south east Hampshire with a resident at a meeting earlier this year. Picture: Sarah Standing (141993-6526)
Councillor Marge Harvey discusses plans for another development in south east Hampshire with a resident at a meeting earlier this year. Picture: Sarah Standing (141993-6526)
Picture: SWNS

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A DANGEROUS precedent could be set to threaten a long-standing green gap if plans for 55 homes are approved, it has been warned.

Marge Harvey, councillor for Rowlands Castle, has spoken of her concerns about the gap between Havant and the village should the housing development get the green light.

Officers at Havant Borough Council have recommended the development off Bartons Road is approved by councillors at a meeting next Thursday.

Part of the land is governed by East Hampshire District Council and officers from the authority have said the development would not harm the gap.

But Cllr Harvey is worried about the future of the land between Havant and the village because much of it is owned by Portsmouth City Council.

In her letter objecting to the plans she said: ‘This land belongs to Portsmouth council, which is landlocked and once houses are allowed, then it would set a precedent for houses in the future.

‘It is important land because it separates Rowlands Castle from Havant and the largest affordable housing site in Europe.’

Rowlands Castle Parish Council has objected to the development, which would result in the felling of five mature oak trees – three of which have Tree Preservation Orders.

A report by the parish council states ‘there seemed to be no genuine or proven need for developing this site’.

The plans have been submitted by Linden Homes.

Buildings on the site would need to be demolished, including four homes, a garden services business and a kennels business.

If given the go-ahead, developers would be required to hand over around £278,000 towards increasing capacity in local schools.

Nature experts from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have submitted an initial objection to the development over concerns about the impact on protected Bechstein’s bats, which live in the area.

A report states the green gap is a mile-wide at this site and a quarter of a mile at its narrowest point.

Further erosion of the gap would be prevented because land to the north is ancient woodland and nature conservation areas, the report adds.

A report by officers from East Hampshire council states: ‘Its development for housing is not considered to result in loss of integrity to the gap.’

The meeting takes place at The Plaza in Havant from 5pm.