Developer hits out at council in homes row

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DEVELOPERS have defended their decision to consult on plans to build homes in a field.

Barratt Homes wants to build 180 homes on land next to Selangor Avenue, Emsworth, but there is fierce opposition within the community.

Barratt held an exhibition on the proposals for 180 homes yesterday but earlier this week Andrew Biltcliffe, Havant Borough Council’s service manager for planning policy, said the council did not support it as a housing site.

He said it would undermine the strategic gap between Havant and Emsworth and a gas pipeline was a major problem.

He said for those reasons it was not put it on the list of potential sites to build on in the housing allocations plan which is currently being consulted on.

Bryan Jezeph, acting on behalf of the developer, accused Mr Biltcliffe of ‘talking out of turn’. He said: ‘We have every right to promote the site.’

He said the gas pipeline issue had been resolved with Barratt prepared to spend more than £1m moving it even further away from homes in Selangor Avenue. He said there would be a review of ‘strategic gaps’ in the borough later this year and added: ‘The inspector who advised the council on its Core Strategy agreed that the gaps should be reconsidered and Barratt’s consultants consider that the gap to the south of the A27 should be abandoned.’

In a statement the council said Mr Biltcliffe was talking about the technical planning policy position of officers on sites which may be suitable for development over the next 15 years. It said and no political had been taken to support or not support this site since no planning application has been submitted.

Tony Briggs, leader of the council, said: ‘As a council we want to work proactively with developers to deliver the homes, jobs and economic growth that is required for the borough.

‘Sites for development will prove controversial on occasions and we have due processes to go through when considering these sites.’