Big retailer has town in its sights for new distribution centre

  • Portsmuth City Council-owned Dunsbury Hill Farm has been in development as employment site for years
  • But lack of crucial access road at the Havant site has held it up
  • Now work has started on the road a big name wants to move in
  • But planning conditions need to be changed
Have your say

ONE of the country’s biggest retailers wants to set up a distribution base in Havant.

Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones confirmed the unnamed firm, is interested in Dunsbury Hill Farm, which is owned by the council, as she explained why an application has been submitted to increase the floor space by 6,000 sq m.

It has great potential but it has been several years in development because of it’s strategic importance

Donna Jones

The Dunsbury Hill Farm site has been in the planning for around a decade and permission was eventually given by Havant Borough Council, the planning authority, in February 2014.

The council was awarded more than £5m by the government to build the crucial access road from Hulbert Road, close to the A3M junction, which will give the develop met the kick-start it needs.

Permission was granted for just over 12,300 sq m of employment space with a mix of uses, including manufacturing.

But that is set to change with the council looking to replace manufacturing with distribution use and increase the floor space with the latest application. Cllr Jones said: ‘It’s a long ongoing project and we have been working closely with Havant Borough Council, as the planning authority.

‘It’s a large site and will create over 1,000 new jobs.

‘We have had interest from one of the biggest retailers in the country who want to use it as a distribution site.

‘They are a household name. It has close proximity to the A3M and close proximity to the ports for goods to be shipped in and out of the country then up to London.

‘It has great potential but it has been several years in development because of it’s strategic importance.’

Work on the road has already started and it is hoped that once it is up and running a hotel will also be built.

At least part of the site was intended for manufacturing but Portsmouth City Council is asking Havant to change that condition so they can capitalise on the shortage of much-needed distribution sites in the area and take advantage of the opportunity presented to them.

But not everyone is happy with the changes.

Lee Rhodes, the developer of nearby Parchment Place housing development, is objecting to the changes.

In a written objection to Havant Borough Council, he said the increased size of the site will have an impact on the newly-built 135 homes.

‘The development is unnecessary and the original scope is adequate’, said Mr Rhodes.

He added: ‘There is an increased risk of noise and air pollution from extending the footprint.’

A decision will be made in the autumn.