A VICTORY for ‘common sense’ has been won after the government upheld a council’s decision to refuse a controversial development.
The government inspector dismissed an appeal by Churchill Retirement Living to build a three-storey scheme of 44 sheltered apartments, plus a shop and a flat above it in Elm Grove, Mengham.
The site, the former home of Pullingers furnishings, is one of Hayling Island’s main shopping districts and traders were worried it could harm the area’s long-term economic viability.
And there was major concern the site only had 14 parking spaces – with no apparent room for visitors or for deliveries.
Last December councillors at Havant Borough Council went against officers’ recommendations and turned down the plans, only for the developers to then appeal to the government. But the decision was upheld – so the scheme will not go ahead.
Councillor Clare Satchwell, who represents Hayling East, was pleased with the decision of Inspector Robert Mellor. She said: ‘I burst in to tears when I heard the news. Development is necessary but this sends a strong message to developers that we will not accept inappropriate development on our island.
‘We work so hard for residents and I see this as a victory for common sense.’
Anthony Walker, who runs Bentley Walker electricals in Elm Grove, said: ‘I am pleased the appeal was turned down and basically on the very reasons we raised at the original planning meeting with the council.
‘The development is oversized for the area and there is inadequate parking to serve the homes proposed.
‘The retirement homes fall out of line with the council’s guide for this area, which is shops and amenities for the island.’
Hayling councillor Andy Lenaghan praised Cllr Satchwell for having the courage to go against officers’ recommendations.
He said: ‘Cllr Satchwell led from the front in defending this at the committee stage, with some members from off the island ready to cave in because it came with a recommendation to approve. She was brilliant on the night leading the others into a refusal for what was clearly over-intensive use of the site.’
Mr Mellor wrote: ‘This would be a poor design resulting in environmental harm and some potential for economic harm to the district centre. The harm would outweigh the social and economic benefits of the housing and retail development.’