Threat to green gap at Emsworth

Land on the Havant/Emsworth boundary earmarked for development
Land on the Havant/Emsworth boundary earmarked for development
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LAND dividing Denvilles and Emsworth could soon be developed to create 2,100 new homes.

Havant Borough Council announced the green space, known as Southleigh – which includes the so-called ‘Emsworth gap’ – is set to appear as a key site in its draft local plan for 2036, which will be released next week.

Alongside the housing, the council earmarked the site for infrastructure development – including a new road junction, a primary school and a small local centre of shops.

Speaking about Southleigh, Havant Borough Council’s lead for planning, Councillor David Guest, said: ‘The owners of this piece of land would like to see it used for development and we are obliged to consider it. It is capable of accommodating a lot of housing.

‘We held two design masterplan workshops for the site earlier this year where members of the public were consulted and reaction was quite positive.’

If the draft local plan passes through a Havant Borough Council cabinet meeting on Monday, December 18, Southleigh will be given the green light and the document will become open to five weeks of public feedback from January 8, 2018.

The development – which is expected to take between five and 10 years to complete if it goes ahead – has not yet been assigned to a developer.

However, public consultations will take place if plans for the land progress.

Stephanie Elsy, the chairwoman of Emsworth forum, said: ‘It is fair to say a lot of people feel it is a shame a lot of green space could disappear if this development goes ahead, but we understand Havant Borough Council is just doing what it must to meet housing needs.

‘In my view, it is better to include Southleigh in the draft local plan so everyone can see it, instead of the project being added in by government later.’

It is expected 1,100 of Southleigh’s would-be 2,100 homes could be completed by 2036.

A new road junction linking with the A27 would be built before housing at Southleigh – with a view to relieving traffic in central Havant, Bartons Road, Park Road North and South and Southleigh Road.

Cabinet lead for infrastructure and economy projects, Cllr Tim Pike, said: ‘Public feedback on this project will be absolutely vital – infrastructure in the existing area is already under pressure.

‘It could not take the number of new homes proposed.’