Villagers rallyingto stop inclusion in the Local Plan

CAMPAIGNERS say the heritage of an historic village is under threat from potential development.

Tuesday, 28th November 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 6:38 am

Old Bedhampton, off Lower Road, has a number of large, listed buildings in roads which surround Bidbury Mead, the village green.

It is a picturesque part of Havant where residents have fought hard to keep it so, through charities such as the Bedhampton Charitable Trust and the Manor Trust – which bought up under-threat manor houses and turned them into homes for retired people.

But under the latest Local Plan proposals, Havant Borough Council has included land south of Lower Road, and north of the A27, close to the Old Bedhampton Conservation Area, as a plot for potential housing.

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It is believed the landowner wants to sell the field. The Local Plan has yet to go to the government for scrutiny so residents are urging the council to think again before it does.

A meeting is being held tomorrow night to discuss the plans.

Ron Tate, one of the organisers, said: ‘Bedhampton’s heritage is under threat.

‘The sole access is through the heart of the village. Forecasts suggest traffic movements will double. The entry and exit point is on two blind corners where 10 properties have accesses, including two establishments for elderly people.

‘No footpaths on this narrow lane mean that all vehicles share the space with pedestrians, dog walkers, pushchairs, mobility scooters and cyclists.

‘A further similar connection to the main road network adjoins an attractive brook.’

He added: ‘The Conservation Area designation confirms the village has rich heritage assets.

‘It recognises the rural character that the area retains. Visitors can witness the ancient church, Manor House, many listed buildings, sunken lanes. They can trace the medieval origins of the village and appreciate its 1,000-year development:

But Councillor Ken Smith, who represents Bedhampton, said that including the parcel of land in the Local Plan may be the only way to protect it. He said: ‘In a way our hands are tied. If we don’t include it in the Local Plan a developer could walk in, put in an application and we won’t have the power to stop it.

‘We are all opposed to it, but we need a defence and the Local Plan could be it.

n The meeting is at The Elms, Lower Road, tomorrow, at 7.30pm.