Developers losing out as nitrates gridlock continues in south Hampshire

IT IS thought around 5,000 new homes have been put on hold since spring in the south of Hampshire as authorities are still struggling to find a way to stop harmful levels of nitrogen reaching the sea.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 8:17 am

Earlier this year Natural England called on local authorities in the area to stop approving planning applications over fears nitrates in wastewater were accelerating algae growth in the Solent and damaging seabeds.

And now, months down the line, hundreds of developers and builders have been left in the lurch as a permanent solution is yet to be found - with some facing financial loss due to losing options on land and others threatening to pull out of the area completely.

Steve Carrington, a planning director at Foreman Homes

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Construction work on new homes has been halted across the area

Read More

Read More
Why housebuilding in Hampshire has stalled – and what is being done about it

'I am from this area and we mainly build in south Hampshire, but we may have to invest our money elsewhere.'

At the other end of the scale is Tony Lawrence, 57, who has submitted an application to build his home in Portchester.

As a way to achieve nitrate neutrality he is looking to build his own water system that runs into wetlands. He said: 'This project has been going on for about 18 months and the application has been in for four. The first idea I submitted to Natural England was turned down.

Terry Lawrence, whose application to build his home in Portchester has been put on hold due to the nitrates situation

'This is costing more money than it should and it's going to continue to cost more money.

'I just want information. I had no idea this was happening until I put the planning application in.'

Small-scale developers Trevor Clarke and Alan Linton also felt let down by the lack of information. They are hoping to develop on a small piece of land in Fareham.

Small-scale developers Trevor Clarke and Alan Linton are asking why developers are being hit with the costs

Mr Clarke said: 'If this is caused by sewage and infrastructure like they say why should we have to pay for it?

'We are local to the area and we want to provide people with houses as an alternative to these massive developers. But we can't do it because of this.'

In Portsmouth a temporary solution could allow housebuilding to resume. The council is considering a nitrate credit system that would balance out the building of new homes by making water efficiencies in existing council house stock.

But Daryn Brewer from Cowplain, who redevelops houses into shared homes known as propods, said: 'This will run out in time.

'If I don't develop more homes it has a knock on effect. It's a source of income for me and it also offers needed accommodation for young professionals in the city.

'On one project we will have around four or five different Portsmouth-based companies who come in. And they will be losing out.'