Fears for green gap between Havant and Emsworth

TWO towns look set to become one continuous development as plans for almost 200 homes are unveiled.

Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 6:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 3:42 pm
Land on the Havant/Emsworth boundary earmarked for development

A public meeting takes place on Thursday to discuss the bid for 193 homes on land north of Havant Road, near Selangor Avenue, in Emsworth.

The development attracted widespread opposition when first mooted several years ago, with concerns about flooding and more traffic congestion.

The site is one of the last green spaces separating Havant and Emsworth.

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The green gap is gradually shrinking, with hundreds of new homes already in the pipeline for farmland off Horndean Road in Emsworth and Bartons Road in Havant.

The Havant Road site is not in Havant Borough Council’s plan of agreed sites, which came about following a lengthy public consultation.

But that does not mean the site cannot be developed.

Three years ago the council’s decision to refuse 131 homes on Mengham Fields, Hayling Island – because it was not in the Local Plan – was overruled by a government planning inspector.

Ray Cobbett, from Havant Friends of the Earth, said: ‘It obviously signals the potential end of green space separating the towns of Havant and Emsworth.

‘It seems almost every green space in Havant is up for grabs now.

‘The whole thing is developer-driven rather than council-driven. Developers clearly see us as being a soft touch borough. It’s Christmas every day for developers.’

Mr Cobbett added: ‘We need houses at the right price, in the right place.’

Stephanie Elsy, chairwoman of Emsworth Forum, said: ‘We want to see the detail of the planning application and what the developers are proposing to do about traffic issues in particular, and probably flooding as well.’

Councillor David Guest, who heads planning, said the community and developers will be able to put across viewpoints at Thursday’s meeting.

He said Havant was currently behind its housebuilding targets.

‘We are going to have to have a lot of sites to meet anywhere near the housing need,’ he said.

The meeting starts at 6pm at The Plaza in Havant.