THE planning inspector’s decision to allow a developer to build more than 130 homes on a field has been branded ‘extremely disappointing’.
There was fierce opposition to Tolcarne Drive Developments building flats and houses on land off Goldring Close, in Hayling Island.
It has prime views over Chichester Harbour.
Under delegated powers, Havant Borough Council planning officers turned down the proposals earlier this year because they were not in the draft housing allocation plan for the area and they felt they were not appropriate.
But the developer launched an appeal, which was heard in May, and the inspector’s decision has upset residents.
Councillor Leah Turner, who represents Hayling and sits on the planning committee, said it was the wrong decision. ‘I’m extremely disappointed that the appeal was successful,’ she said.
‘For a year Havant Borough Council entered into consultation with the residents of Hayling Island over the housing allocation plan and Goldring Close was always the least preferred option.
‘At the appeal the officers and the residents did an brilliant job and I’m extremely upset that the wishes of residents, and the professional judgement of council officers, has been overturned by a planning inspector who came down from Bristol.
‘Through the Localism Act the government said it wanted to put power back in the hands of the people – the council tried that and the residents have ended up with the exact opposite of what they wanted.’
In his report, inspector Philip Asquith said the development would not harm nearby Chichester Harbour, which is an AONB and SSSI.
He said: ‘It is my overall conclusion that the proposal would represent a sustainable form of development.
‘The scheme would make a useful contribution to housing provision within the borough, in particular through the provision of a 30 per cent element of affordable housing at a time when there is a demonstrable need for this.’
Mr Asquith added that alternative sites on the island, put forward by the council as being more appropriate, were not. He said they would need ecological studies which could take years.
In a statement the council said its legal team were considering the decision and taking further advice on it.