Fight over field is in the hands of appeal inspector

The field next to The Navigator Pub in Lower Swanwick which has had an application refused for 37 homes.
The field next to The Navigator Pub in Lower Swanwick which has had an application refused for 37 homes.
Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

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A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build 37 houses on a field that was thrown out by councillors is now the subject of a public inquiry.

Worried residents went along to watch the first day of the four-day hearing at Ferneham Hall, in Fareham, yesterday.

The plan for the plot of land, next to the Navigator Pub, in Bridge Road, Lower Swanwick, has provoked high feeling as residents fear the area will not be able to cope with the extra demand on infrastructure.

More than 120 letters of objection were sent to the council.

Jim Wood, chairman of the Burridge and Swanwick Residents’ Association, said: ‘The layout of the housing is cramped and not in keeping with the linear housing typical in the area.

‘Both Swanwick and Burridge will disappear with housing being built and it will set a precedent for more development. We do not want this to happen.’

Planning inspector John Felgate will analyse the plan and assess whether Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee was right to reject the application in February.

The application for 37 homes submitted by WYG Planning and Environment was originally rejected because it contravened the council’s policy banning building on designated countryside spots.

The developer argues that this site is of limited landscape value therefore would be ideal for housing.

Mr Felgate will now decide whether to uphold the council’s original decision.

As previously reported, council leader and ward councillor Sean Woodward vowed to fight the appeal.

He said: ‘We will throw everything we have at this application to protect the land and stand up for the residents of the local area.’

Mr Felgate said: ‘I have outlined the issues as I see them and that’s whether there is a need for more housing in the area, whether the site is an appropriate location for residential development, whether 37 dwellings is appropriate for the area and whether there will be an adverse or beneficial impact for the area.

‘And finally to look at whether the development constitutes a sustainable development for national planning policy.’

The inquiry continues today at 10am at Ferneham Hall and a decision will be made next year.