Woe for campaigners as plans for new Domino’s Pizza in Havant town centre are approved

COUNCILLORS have been accused of ignoring residents’ concerns after approving long-contested plans for a new town centre branch of Domino’s Pizza.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 3:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 8:07 pm

It comes after a planning application lodged by the takeaway giant to set up shop at the vacant unit at 39 West Street in Havant was approved at a meeting last week. 

Members of Havant Borough Council’s Development Management Committee voted 4-2 in favour of the proposals after they were amended off the back of a rejection in October. 

But as merits of the plans were debated before a vote took place, campaigners say there was no mention of the scores of constraints people had lodged with the council online.

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Bob Comlay, chairman of Havant Civic Society, said: ‘The residents who put in a lot of comments and clear objections have been completely ignored. 

‘If the council wants to engage with residents – and if they want residents to engage with them over their Regeneration Strategy – they need to prove they are listening.’

The approval came as a disappointment to Mr Comlay and others who fear a Domino’s at West Street will plunge Park Road South into traffic ‘chaos’.

But after a highway review submitted by developers estimated movements to and from the  store would cause no woe, planners said there was no sound reason for opposition. 

Councillor Paul Buckley, chairman of the Development Management Committee, said: ‘This time, with additional information relating to parking, highways and access, we could not continue to refuse it.’ 

In October, Cllr Buckley was the only one to vote in favour of the plans when they were brought before the committee after a delegated decision was red-carded by Cllr Tim Pike. 

While he noted ‘little had changed’ with the application as it reappeared last week, he said a shake-up of committee members may have played a role in the swinging verdict.

‘Each councillor makes their mind up on the facts they are presented with on the night,’ he said. 

‘The councillor who was most vociferous last time was not there.' 

Those who were, he added, had been briefed on objections made by residents in the build-up the the meeting.

‘All the details of all the comments were in a report – members can go online and read them,’ he said. 

‘We were fully aware of every objection brought forward.’

Domino’s is expected to move its North Street business 0.3 miles to the new site at West Street, which used to be a HSBC Bank, as opposed to launching another store.