CAMPAIGNERS are keeping up the fight to protect an historic and heritage-rich site from development, despite a set-back after their latest move.
Steering group Save Old Bedhampton (SOB) gained more than 1,800 signatures in support of asking Havant Borough Council to remove Lower Road from its Draft Local Plan 2036 – the housing blueprint for Havant.
Developer Bargate Homes is looking to build 50 homes on the site.
SOB have been told the petition will be considered as a response to the authority’s public consultation about the plans for the borough, and will not be debated separately during a council meeting.
Iain Fairley, a campaigner from the group, said: ‘As more people become aware of the potential permanent harm that development could cause to the Old Bedhampton conservation area, those who signed the petition calling on the council to halt progress will be disappointed there is no early solution in sight.
‘We know by raising the profile of the issues we have gained significant support.
‘Knowing our petition won’t be debated at a full council meeting and is only being considered as a consultation response isn’t the outcome we wanted, but we’re working with the council to protect the individual and collective heritage assets of Old Bedhampton from harm.’
The group said access to and from the site is of concern as more traffic will mix with pedestrians and cyclists, along a section of shared lane that winds around three blind corners.
The council held its public consultation on the Draft Local Plan 2036 throughout January and February.
A spokesperson for the authority said: ‘When we received the petition we wrote back saying it would be treated as a consultation response and considered when determining what changes should be made to the plan.
‘The next stage is for the pre-submission consultation and this version of the Local Plan will be considered by the cabinet and full council, where there will be a chance to discuss the Lower Road site.
‘We were informed SOB were content with this form of action and so were surprised when the petition was re-submitted.’
The petition will be considered early next year in the next stages of the Local Plan.