Council meeting will decide fate of housing

A CRUNCH meeting will take place tomorrow at which councillors will decide whether 11,300 new homes will be built across Havant and Waterlooville in the next 20 years.

Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 3:40 pm
From left, Emsworth Residents Association chairwoman Jo Dyer, Andrew Norton from Warblington Residents Association and Denvilles Residents Association, MP George Hollingbery, alliance chairwoman Ann Buckley and Charles Ash, the planning spokesman for the alliance

The Local Plan, which sets out a blueprint for development across the borough, will be debated at Havant Borough Council’s full council meeting.

Following a meeting with Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery in which they voiced their concerns, representatives from the Havant Borough Residents Alliance said they believe the plans are not good enough, as they do not provide enough affordable homes, nor give sufficient protection to green field sites.

There is fierce opposition to proposals to allow houses to be built in areas like Hayling, Purbrook, and in the Emsworth gap.

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Group chairwoman Ann Buckley said: ‘The council says it has left no stone unturned but still hasn’t found enough building land to meet its own numbers.

‘Our concern is that government planning inspectors will judge the final draft as unsound because of inadequate infrastructure, untested housing numbers, and environmental impact.’

Ray Cobbett, also from the alliance, said: ‘We have five main concerns: haste, local needs, green gaps, affordability, and sustainability.

‘People were given just six weeks to respond to the news of an extra 5,000 homes.

‘The current plan set out to respect areas like the last remaining piece of farmland between Emsworth and Havant, the new plan doesn’t.

‘The average salary of a person in Havant is £23-24,000, the price of a new house is £250,000. The ratio between the two don’t match. Therefore the plan won’t help people who need it the most.’

David Guest, cabinet lead for economy, planning, development and prosperity at the council said: ‘Nothing will be done unless it’s sustainable and all the necessary infrastructure is in place. Every single site on the plan will be tested properly.

‘The Local Plan has to be done by 2018 otherwise the government will step in and do it for us. Loss of green space is a fact of life in this country, land is under threat due to the government’s need to increase housing. We need more houses and more affordable homes for young people.’