Nature reserve under threat say locals after 160-homes proposals

CONCERNS have been raised about wildlife after a proposal for 160 homes next to a nature reserve was submitted for planning permission.

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 1:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 1:18 pm
A roe deer buck, in the long grass at Titchfield Haven nature reserve, Picture: Andrew Gregory

Residents feel the Titchfield Haven national nature reserve is under threat after Bargate Homes submitted an outline application for 160 homes on land west of Old Street in Stubbington.

Richard Taylor neighbours the nature reserve and is concerned for the wildlife.

He said: ‘The proposed development site is adjacent to the national nature reserve and acts as a natural buffer between existing residential housing in Hill Head and the reserve.

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‘Plans would have this gap reduced to a few feet and would remove feeding and hunting grounds from the reserve. The addition of light pollution, noise pollution, pet predation etc means the national nature reserve will be under threat by this permanent and irreversible damage.’

The reserve is home to thousands of species of plants, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and birds including dark-bellied brent geese which migrate from northern Russia.

Richard added: ‘During the winter months the freshly ploughed field attracted brent geese and Canada geese in large numbers, last year there was very few.’

The application has received over 150 comments from locals and resident associations.

On behalf of Hill Head Residents’ Association, chairman Bill Hutchinson wrote: ‘The true importance of the fields is as a buffer between the reserve and existing houses that prevents disturbance to the wildlife.

‘If houses were to be built on the fields, disturbance would increase dramatically and both wintering and breeding birds could be lost to the reserve forever.

‘Many of the birds that would be lost are of national significance.’

Resident Carmel Oakton was one of the many residents who left a comment to object the plans.

Carmel said: ‘This whole coastal area of Hill Head should not have any more construction of any sort.

‘The wildlife here is rich, especially the seabirds and the birds that migrate here. If you visit this place you will immediately see what could be lost. The coast together with The Haven make a wonderful nature reserve, and should be preserved and protected at all costs.’