Hampshire Farm gets over last planning hurdle

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THE final plans for a controversial rural housing development have been given the go-ahead.

Despite fierce opposition from residents, Havant Borough Council’s planning committee last night gave the final permission needed to build the 280-home Hampshire Farm development.

Outline planning permission for the site, between Emsworth and Westbourne, was given a year ago but councillors had to agree on whether the style and layout of the proposed homes was right for the area.

Since outline planning was agreed the Emsworth Residents Association has worked with developers Linden Homes and planning officers to come up with an acceptable scheme.

Introducing the application to the committee planning officer Alex Sebbinger said: ‘The applicant has not used out-of-the-box design.

‘They have not said, “let’s pick a house type and put it here”.

‘It’s a development that is designed very much with regard to the character of the locality.’

A large site at the entrance to the development has been set aside for a doctors’ surgery but Lorraine Clode, chairman of Emsworth Residents Association, said she fears this will never be realised because of lack of interest from local GPs.

She said: ‘This is the elephant in the room. The likelihood of this landmark gateway plot standing idle for five years after commencement of building is very real.’

But Mr Sebbinger said a section 106 legal agreement meant it could only ever be for community use and homes could not be built on it ‘by stealth’.

There were also concerns because the roads would not be adopted by Hampshire County Council.

Councillor Mike Wilson said he was worried about what would happen if Linden went bust, saying: ‘Depending upon a limited company to service these roads is rather weak.’

Five councillors voted in favour of the plans with one abstention.

Michael O’Brien, director of planning at Linden, said he was delighted by the decision.