Bedhampton residents say heritage will be ‘lost or damaged’ as 50 homes will be built in conservation area
RESIDENTS have spoken out about their concerns following a controversial decision to permit 50 houses in a Bedhampton conservation area.
Following a formal public inquiry in February, the planning inspector granted Bargate Homes permission to build 50 houses south of Lower Road in Old Bedhampton.
The development was originally refused planning permission by Havant Borough Council as it was felt it would have a negative impact on the Old Bedhampton conservation area.
The area includes a network of historic lanes, a tranquil setting, protected trees, and natural springs, ponds and streams.
Bargate Homes appealed against the council's decision, leading to the formal inquiry.
After consideration, the inspector said although the ‘distinctive character of the landscape would be diminished’, the ‘proposed housing would yield significant social, economic and environmental benefits’.
Need for housing took precedence, and the development was permitted.
Nearby residents took an active part in the inquiry via the Bedhampton Heritage Alliance.
Ron Tate, a retired planner and a member of the alliance, said: ‘Bedhampton Heritage Alliance wanted to help the council fulfil their guardianship duty to protect and enhance the collection of designated and non-designated heritage assets found here - to protect them from irreparable harm for the benefit of future generations.
‘The appeal decision however focused upon the shortfall in new housing delivery over the next five years and the government’s wish to see increased provision.
‘This is unfortunately an ad-hoc decision that is not plan-led.
‘Relationships and heritage assets that have survived for centuries of development will be lost or damaged.’
Bedhampton resident Alec Matthews added: ‘These 50 houses will add less than half a percent to the housing shortfall.
‘So an arable field, ancient paths and the very nature of Lower Road – all in a conservation area – will be destroyed to meet government targets.’
Councillor Clare Satchwell, cabinet lead for planning, said: ‘We thank our residents and their efforts regarding the Lower Road appeal.
‘The decision made by the planning inspectorate was not a rash one; it was comprehensive in its range and clear in its arguments.
‘All relevant facts from all sides have been considered, and the council accepts the judgement made.’