Fear over ‘infilling’ of green spaces in Leigh Park

A plot of land which will be built on in Southfield Walk, Warren Park
A plot of land which will be built on in Southfield Walk, Warren Park
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan at the Scrap The Cap rally, held in Guildhall Square

Hundreds turn out for Scrap The Cap rally

  • Controversial plan for house on former children’s play area is approved
  • Councillors argue it will not harm area
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A DANGEROUS precedent for ‘infilling’ green spaces on an estate has been made, a councillor has warned.

The planning committee of Havant Borough Council granted approval last night to building a house on a grassy area in Southfield Walk, Warren Park.

Resident Denise Budd and Warren Park Councillor Beryl Francis, who objected to the housebuilding plan

Resident Denise Budd and Warren Park Councillor Beryl Francis, who objected to the housebuilding plan

There were 66 objections to the plan, arguing that giving the go-ahead could encourage other people to buy plots of land in Leigh Park and build homes.

The area in question had been used as an unofficial children’s play area for decades.

But last year it was bought and a high fence built around it.

Warren Park councillor Beryl Francis, addressing the committee, said Leigh Park was based on a ‘garden city’ design and her parents were among thousands rehomed from Portsmouth following the war.

She said: ‘The estate was carefully planned.

‘Yes, especially in the Warren, the houses were crowded together and the high-rise flats housed many people, but Portsmouth planners were careful to leave green spaces and not create an urban jungle.

‘While I fully support the urgent need for more houses it would be tragic if, in our search for sites, we disregarded the ideals of the original plan.’

Denise Budd, who has lived in the street for 37 years, said: ‘The properties of Warren Park have small gardens and the green areas between properties have been a welcome space for the community to enjoy.’

The meeting heard a similar application for a detached house of four bedrooms was refused and upheld when the developer appealed to the government.

But planning officer Rachael McMurray said the new plan – an end of terrace house of reduced size – was appropriate for the area.

Cllr Paul Buckley, who sits on the committee, said: ‘I personally can see little wrong with it. The advantage is it’s being built in an area where they have the infrastructure in place.’

Cllr John Perry said the harm to the area outweighed the benefits.

Councillors voted six to one to approve the plan.

Cllr Francis told The News she was worried the decision had now created a precedent.