Residents' anger as Havant council approves new mini-estate because it needs to build homes

A COUNCIL has approved a greenfield housing development, despite being a site of importance for nature conservation (SINC).

By Toby Paine
Saturday, 26th February 2022, 4:55 am

The proposal for nine homes on land off Long Copse Lane, Emsworth, was approved by Havant Borough Council (HBC) because it needs to build new homes.

The site will provide a mixture of semi and detached homes with associated works - ecological mitigation is required due to the land being a SINC.

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Land of Long Copse Lane, between Emsworth and Westbourne

Building on a SINC conflicts with the council's planning policies however, due to the council being behind on its housing targets those policies are out of date.

Resident David Mason, who lives adjacent to the site said: ‘At the Tory party conference last September, the prime minister said that no more homes would be built on greenfield sites and that brownfield sites will be developed instead.

‘Under the applicant's plan the SINC grasses would be moved to the fields to the east by HBC however the applicants admit that the experience of translocating grasses is varied - therefore HBC cannot be certain that the SINC site will not be ruined.

Neighbouring resident Chris Poirrier added: ‘Mr Nick Knight, Hampshire county bat recorder, completed a survey of the area using a nocturnal monitor.

‘The monitor made over 11,000 recordings over a one month period in June 2021.

‘At least nine species of bat were identified including several types of Barbastelle bat which share the same near threatened status as the Bechstein.

‘The government and our local MP are pushing for the development of brownfield sites, urban regeneration and no greenfield development, I therefore ask that councillors maintain the conservative party line.’

Councillor Jackie Branson agreed that the site is ‘constrained’ and ‘not ideal’ but could see no reason to refuse permission.

‘Unfortunately, Havant doesn't have any ideal sites left, if only we did have we wouldn't be building on sites such as this.

'We would like to have more brownfield sites, obviously, it was the brownfield sites that caused the local plan to be sent back.

‘We have the tilted balance and we have to look at whether the harm outweighs the need for housing in the borough and sadly we only have 3.9 years supply.’