Ripped out Cams Hill Estate hedgerow must now be replaced

GONE The remains of the trees at the Cams Hall estate
GONE The remains of the trees at the Cams Hall estate
From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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DEVELOPERS have been ordered to replant 60 metres of hedgerow they ripped out and razed to the ground.

More than 120 metres of waterfront shrubs and trees were removed by Strand Harbour Development on Saturday, August 20, as part of its preparations for a new restaurant and bar at the Cams Hill Estate in Fareham.

But although the firm has permission for the overall development, which it has styled as a reconstruction of the Cams Tidal Mill that once stood on the site, it has yet to be given permission for the woodland removal.

Last night, Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee added the issue to its agenda as an urgent matter, and ruled to order the replanting, which will have to take place before the end of November.

Only 65 metres of what was removed would have gone as part of the building work. The council’s solicitor advised that removing woodland does not constitute starting building work and was therefore not illegal. Of the remaining removed hedgerow, 45 metres of it is awaiting permission to be removed under a linked planning application regarding landscaping around the restaurant, and 15 metres falls outside the area altogether. It is these two sections that will be replanted.

Cllr Roger Price called for legal action to be taken against Strand for acting prematurely and said: ‘We have got to send a message to people – whatever you are legally permitted to do, that’s what you can do. If we take no action, what message are we sending to developers?’

His proposal to push for legal action was not seconded by anyone on the committee.

Chairman, cllr Nick Walker said: ‘This is a group that has done superb work at Cams, they are not some fly-by-night organisation. They have gone too far and we are going to ask them to rectify that.’

Greg Lismore, of Swan Quay, Fareham, gave a deputation calling for legal action against Strand, and the return of the 60 metres. Speaking afterwards he said: ‘This demonstrates that the council have taken notice of the public voice.

‘I still have concerns that the legal advice they were given is unsound. This game is not over yet.’

No-one from Strand attended the meeting.