‘Thin end of the wedge’ - fears of more development

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BUILDING a new railway depot could create a dangerous precedent for building on Hayling’s seafront, it has been warned.

Frank Pearce, Hayling’s county councillor, said he was not happy with the size of the railway depot that was approved by Havant Borough Council’s planning committee.

As reported, Hayling Seaside Railway was granted permission to build a 15ft-high depot on land that is currently part of a car park at Eastoke Corner.

Mr Pearce said: ‘My opinion is it’s the thin end of the wedge.

‘Once a development is there, what’s to stop someone applying for a block of flats and building along there?’

David Collins, Hayling councillor, also agreed it could create a precedent for future development.

The site is an area for nature conservation, but the county ecologist said it will not have an effect on overwintering birds.

The council’s decision means the popular seaside railway can continue on the seafront for years to come.

The lease on its current depot, at the funfair, ends in December and will not be renewed.

Rosemary Satchwell, who runs the Terracotta Pot shop at Eastoke, said: ‘I don’t object to the train and I don’t have a problem with the station.

‘I opposed the large industrial-type building that we are having there.’

Regarding more development on the seafront, she said: ‘I would like to think not – who knows?

‘There’s always the thought that if one person has got planning, why not another?’

Mrs Satchwell added: ‘At the end of the day, it’s been passed and we would like to work together.’

The new railway depot was approved partly because of its tourism value.

Mrs Satchwell’s daughter Clare Satchwell, who lives in Rails Lane, said: ‘There’s no statistics or figures for any attractions on the island to say how much usage they get and what is most appealing.

‘It’s all based on hearsay really. It’s vital at some point to find out what tourists are looking for.’

Cllr David Keast, who sits on the planning committee, told the meeting last Thursday that the depot was a ‘one-off’ and would not create a precedent.

Planning officer Steve Weaver said the area ‘seems a natural end point for any vistas’.