Fierce opposition fails to stop plan for 11,300 homes

11,300 homes are set to be built across Havant in the next 20 years
11,300 homes are set to be built across Havant in the next 20 years
Mike Palmer as Skellig and James Walden as Michael

REVIEW: Skellig at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant

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TENSIONS rose as residents’ groups fought for councillors to reconsider a major plan that is set to earmark land for an extra 6,300 homes.

But despite several councillors speaking out and with six deputations, from alliances of businesses and residents, the plans in Havant were approved by a majority.

Now the Local Plan Housing Statement will go forward, potentially paving the way for 11,300 homes in the area.

Fierce criticisms were made, with many opposing any further houses being built without an assessment of infrastructure – such as roads, schools, and health care – being made.

Ann Buckley, from Havant Residents’ Alliance, said she feared the plan, which foresees the housing being built up to 2036, had been hastily done after a planning inspector approved and overturned an application for flats in Purbook.

Speaking at the meeting last night, she said: ‘The planning inspector’s decision on Purbrook has led to a kneejerk reaction.’

She urged councillors not to ‘wave a white flag of surrender to developers looking to expand their land banks’.

But top councillors on the Conservative administration warned if they do not complete a Local Plan by 2018 then the government may take over.

The meeting, held at the Public Service Plaza, heard the figure for more homes has come from the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire.

Anne Skennerton, from Hayling Residents, added: ‘Hayling is recognised not only for birdwatching but also as a world-class and safe watersports and Blue Flag beach, a rural destination.

‘Thirty thousand vehicles in August stopped traffic for three hours on Hayling’s A3023. More houses and cars destroy not only our habitats but Havant’s most valuable tourist economy.’

Ron Tate, of Bedhampton, branded the document a ‘developer’s charter’, asking for a rethink on the inclusion of 50 homes near Lower Road.

David Parham, from Save Hayling, told councillors: ‘You have now lost the trust of the residents and you have frightened them.’

Amid concerns raised about infrastructure, Cllr Tim Pike, set to become cabinet member for strategic innovation, infrastructure and projects, said: ‘I will be holding the feet to the fire of all those infrastructure organisations.’

A fresh plan about infrastructure covering each potential development area will be drawn up for the Local Plan.

Tory lead for economy, planning, development and prosperity, Cllr David Guest, said: ‘If we don’t do this then we are led to believe the government inspector will come and do this for us.’

He said every application ‘will be tested’ when it comes up for consideration.

Leader Michael Cheshire criticised as ‘disgraceful’ Ukip’s Cllr John Perry’s comments blaming ‘immigration-induced population growth’ for housing problems.

The Housing Statement was approved with 23 votes for, seven against and three abstentions. More consultations and debates will be held before the Local Plan is approved in 2018.