Homebuilders can’t expect to win every land battle

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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It would appear that, for once, developers might have listened to the fears, and downright anger, of local people and not ridden roughshod over their views. Yet.

Linden Homes wants to build an 86-home estate on Havant Retail Park at Portsdown Hill Road, Bedhampton.

We questioned whether such a large number of homes was needed in the area. And we also supported the scores of people who said it would have meant the end of the much-loved AMF bowling alley in an area already bereft of decent recreational facilities.

But the homebuilder obviously had not considered the scale of the opposition to its ill-conceived plan.

As we have said here before, the homes would have been in the wrong place and, at the very least, Linden should have come up with and paid for a site to which the tenpin bowling complex could have been moved.

Havant councillors – members of the planning committee – should have delivered a verdict on Thursday. Officers had recommended they refuse planning permission and it is rare that members do not take the professionals’ advice. They had taken our view – that the closure of AMF Bowling would have seen the loss of a vital community facility.

However, the would-be developers have, apparently, submitted extra information. What this might be, we do not yet know, but it means the issue is still, potentially, up for consideration on October 3.

More than 1,400 people signed a petition to save the alley, which supports nine leagues as well as visits from local schools and groups of disabled people.

And they have vowed to fight to the end.

Sandie Montgomery, the secretary of Havant Youth Bowling Club, says: ‘We are not giving up on this.

‘We would be ecstatic if it did not close. It would mean we can carry on bowling and keep our club there.’

Managers of the complex insist they want to stay put and that is exactly what we at The News want too.

Too much land and too many assets are being sacrificed to satisfy the greed of homebuilders.