Tipner West: Naturalist Chris Packham joins campaign against Portsmouth City Council's Lennox Point super peninsula
NATURALIST Chris Packham has joined environmental groups in hitting out at the inclusion of a new £1bn ‘super peninsula’ in Portsmouth City Council's draft Local Plan.
The New Forest TV presenter said the planned Tipner West project ‘could open the floodgates for concreting over protected sites across the country’.
His comments are the latest in long-standing environmental opposition to the scheme which would involve the reclamation of about 67 acres of land from Portsmouth Harbour’s Special Protection Area.
The RSPB and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have also reiterated their objections, having spear-headed a petition earlier this year which drew the support of more than 24,000 people.
They said the harbour needed to be protected from development.
‘The vast expanses of mudflats at Tipner West and threatened coastal land provide vital habitat relied on by many species, including dark-bellied brent geese, dunlin and black-tailed godwit,’ RSPB operations manager Nick Bruce-White said. ‘Not only that, but Tipner West is also a great escape for local people to connect with nature and take a moment out from their busy lives – greatly benefiting the physical and mental health of those who visit.
‘We are outraged at the possibility of building on such an important wildlife site.’
Debbie Tann, the chief executive of the wildlife trust, has urged the public to ‘reject nature’s destruction’.
The two organisations have urged people to object to the inclusion of the Tipner West project in the council's draft Local Plan.
Consultation on the document, which sets out how government housing targets will be met over the next 15 years, began earlier this week.
Councillor Hugh Mason, the council's cabinet member for planning policy, said government demands had forced the inclusion of more development than were capable of being built.
‘The government is forcing the council to plan to build an extra 17,700 new houses in Portsmouth over the next 15 years,' he said. ‘This is far too many in an island city, but the government have rejected our request to have a more realistic housing target.’
But he said that there were 'opportunities' for the city to build on the city's 'great maritime industrial tradition' at Tipner and Horsea, including the construction of ‘innovative housing provision’.
The consultation ends on October 31, after which any changes required will be made before a final consultation is launched and it is submitted to a government planning inspector for approval.