Residents’ concern for future of Emsworth land around Fowley Cottage as decision on planning application set to be made
EMSWORTH residents have voiced their concerns about the future of their area as they await a decision on a plan for an ‘acceptable’ number of new houses.
One of the owners of the land surrounding Fowley Cottage on Warblington Road says that family plans to build ‘legacy’ dwellings in the area are being scuppered by an ‘uphill battle’ with the council.
London lawyer Charles Glanville is keen to build a small amount of housing on his family’s land, but says that Havant Borough Council wants to put in many more dwellings than those outlined in his low density plans.
Fowley Cottage, his family’s home, was purchased in 1954 along with the land, and was inherited by Charles and his sisters Lady Pippa Blake, an artist, and Louise Burnet, a musician, after their mother passed away in 2014.
Charles said that the family planned to develop the land and put houses on it, with original plans for five to eight new dwellings, and to sell the land with planning consent.
From 2015, Charles has tried to get planning permission for a ‘legacy’ low density design of contemporary houses in this area, while maintaining Fowley Cottage. The plan is to sell Fowley Cottage, with one of the newly-builty homes acting as his own retirement house.
He said: ‘We were very keen to have a nice design, a nice legacy.
‘I was going to take one of the houses as a retirement home, as my inheritance.
‘I always dreamt of moving to Emsworth and I always dreamt of building my own home one day.’
Although originally Charles and his sisters were in agreement over plans, differences in opinion caused significant delays in the process.
Charles said: ‘Unfortunately, because it took so long to get through the change of contracts, planning policy had changed at Havant and this site, which in the previous local plan had an allocation for seven local dwellings, was showing in the new local plan for 40 dwellings.
‘Over the course of negotiation, we managed to get that down to 20 dwellings.
‘The maximum number of houses I was going to get was nine houses.
‘The golden opportunity to get a planning application through was lost and it’s been an uphill battle against council policy ever since.’
A planning application for nine new dwellings on the site surrounding Fowley Cottage has been submitted, proposing two on the Warblington Road frontage and seven in the back garden area.
Emsworth residents are worried that many new houses could be built in the land surrounding Fowley Cottage on Warblington Road if Charles’ current plan is not accepted.
Charles said: ‘It’s not making the locals at all happy, the neighbours are incensed about having extra houses, extra traffic, extra noise, and they think it’ll be out of character for the site.
‘It’s an important site overlooking Chichester Harbour and the coastal footpath, and residents are fearful of lots of houses ruining everything.’
The planning application will be going to the Havant Borough Council committee on May 27.
Gareth Price, a resident of Warblington Road, said: ‘I would prefer it if Fowley Cottage remained a family home, with no major redevelopment.
‘Charles’ application would be an acceptable and realistic alternative. Potentially a good one.’
Gareth feels that any larger development proposed by the council would be ‘horrendous’.
He added: ‘Not only for my ‘“nimby” self, local residents, and anyone wishing to enjoy the beauty of our particular backyard.’
Retired teacher Richard Bryant says that his daughter lives in her ‘dream home’ opposite the site.
He said: ‘As a parent and grandparent, I can envisage the traffic. I have this fear that there will be a lot more traffic in the area that could cause a problem for my family. You won’t be able to park, the schools are already full.
‘I would prefer no development, and it seems that it’s a choice between nine properties or 20, which is a Hobson’s choice. So it’s a no-brainer - we’ll have to have the nine.’
Graham Wingate, who has lived locally for 40 years, said: ‘The area lends itself only to reasonably sized dwellings, six or seven in that area would be okay.’
Havant Borough Council says that as this is an open application, it is unable to comment, but a decision will be made on May 27.
Louise Burnet, who is unable to comment on the plans, instead said of her childhood home: ‘It is a magical place, we are so lucky to have been brought up there.’
Pippa Blake did not wish to comment.