THE potential loss of the last remaining farmland between Havant and Emsworth has been heavily criticised by a green group.
Friends of the Earth is worried that the shrinking gap between the two towns is in danger of being lost forever.
It comes as Havant Borough Council and landowners could alter a legal agreement signed in 1992 to protect the green space.
The changes would allow the development of 140 homes off Horndean Road and 203 homes to be built south of Bartons Road. The agreement has already been altered to allow the development of Havant Crematorium.
Ray Cobbett from Emsworth is the Friends of the Earth group co-ordinator and believes signing off the other two developments will pave the way for the disappearance of the entire gap. He wrote to the council in response to the Draft Allocations Plan, which sets out the likely locations of 2,800 homes over the next 13 years
In his letter, Mr Cobbett said: ‘Despite a 25-year embargo enshrined in the agreement on any development, permission was granted in 2012 for a new crematorium. Two further incursions are now proposed. We oppose the inclusion of these sites.
‘They are contrary to the original intention to safeguard the land for future generations. An agreement created to protect the public interest was summarily varied in 2012 without any real public consultation.
‘It has led to new proposals to take even more land and a powerful precedent to support any future appeal against refusal to permit further development.’
He also criticised the housing masterplan for the borough.
Mr Cobbett told The News: ‘Obviously we need more affordable houses but with most new ones priced up at between £300,000 and £500,000, few local first-time buyers are likely to be among the customers in an area with the lowest average earning in Hampshire.’
The results of a public consultation are being analysed. Council officials stressed no decisions have been taken about amending the legal agreement for the green gap.
Leader Tony Briggs said the sites chosen come after several rounds of consultation and the masterplan will protect the area from speculative developments.
The plan is set to be submitted to the government for approval in the spring.