Residents raise worries over Portsmouth Water's plans for new Havant headquarters

RESIDENTS vented their anger at a public meeting over plans from a water company to move its Havant headquarters.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 2:56 pm
Portsmouth Water's current headquarters in West Street, Havant. Picture: Google Street View

Portsmouth Water’s plan would free up its old site for the construction of 135 new ‘sustainable homes’ if a move from West Street to green land it owns next to Bosmere Medical Centre in Solent Road gets the go-ahead.

Plans went on public display at a development consultation forum at Havant's Public Service Plaza last night showcasing plans for a new two storey building with ‘extensive glazing', set to be built alongside an extra 2,000sqm of office space for start-up businesses.

A grass buffer would separate the area and Solent Road, with units angled to respect the Grade II-listed Old Manor House in Brockhampton Road and the Brockhampton Conservation Area.

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It comes after the West Street site was identified to have protected trees and is sometimes used by Brent geese and Solent waders. 

Developer Chancerygate, which is behind the plan, said access to the new HQ would come from widening the turn-off for the medical centre.

But residents at the consultation were not happy with the plans. John Murray, chairman of Manor Court Residents Association, questioned the screening that would be put in place. 

He said: ‘We want to know how many trees they are going to take down and whether they will replace these with mature trees. If they remove the trees that are currently there and put in small, new trees it will not protect the view.

‘At the moment we have a lovely view but it will be replaced by industrial units unless we have proper screening.’

Steve Jones, 62, also of Manor Court, added: ‘We moved here five years ago, partly because of the views where we have a stream and a lovely garden to look at. 

‘If the plans go-ahead we will have to look at industrial units instead and deal with all the noise and pollution that happens as well. The development would also have a big impact on wildlife.’

Catherine Billam, of West Street, said parking in the area during construction would cause severe disruption for those living nearby while also pointing out that not all 250 employees would be able to park at the new site.

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Portsmouth could move its headquarters to make way for 135 new homes

 ‘There will be a significant number of cars parked on the pavement – it will be chaos,’ she said.

But Chris Hardyman, of Portsmouth Water, replied: ‘The amount of workers we have will be nearer to 120. We will need to do a traffic assessment to see what the impact will be before any decisions are made.’

Bob Comlay, chairman of Havant Civic Society and member of the Bosmere Medical Practice, said: ‘Forcing new site traffic through what is effectively the dedicated Solent Road access to the Bosmere Medical Centre will cause further traffic chaos on Solent Road and will severely impact the operation of one of Hampshire's largest GP practices.’ 

Havant Borough Council officer Julia Mansi said: ‘We will carry on our discussions with the developer and ask them to consider the points residents have raised.’

No planning application has officially been submitted for the proposals.