PLANS for a £15m housing project that was set to change the face of Havant’s town centre have been scrapped.
Permission for the 13-storey Market Parade apartment block was given in August last year, in what was described as ‘once in a generation’ decision.
Councillors spent two hours debating in the council chambers before giving Hampshire and Regional Property Group (HRPG) the green light to build 130 flats, six large commercial units on the ground floor, and 58 residential parking spaces.
Now, the group has ditched its plans after being unable to reach an agreement with the landowner.
Developer Shaun Adams from HRPG said: ‘As a business that is passionate about regeneration and the Portsmouth area, we were looking forward to getting this important project started.
‘Regrettably we’ve been unable to reach an acceptable agreement with the landowner, so sadly we’re no longer proceeding with the project.’
The move was set to be the first phase in the plan to revamp Market Parade, an area which is home to a number of shops and flats near Havant train station.
A number of businesses moved elsewhere so their former shops could be demolished, and the apartment block built.
The Star pub was demolished in 2014 as part of the development plans.
It was more than 150 years old and used to sit on North Street, where a car park is being built – but not by HRPG.
The development was meant to be privately-rented accommodation and appeal to young professionals.
For some, the news that a 13-storey apartment block won’t be built is welcome.
Tim Dawes, of the Green Party in Havant, said: ‘The Market Parade development is a complete farce.
‘We need this area of the town to be redeveloped and we need housing and commercial units, but the building proposed was ridiculously overblown, out of proportion to the rest of the town, and capable of casting a shadow over much of it – which continues to look like it’s been blitzed. Before this development was approved Havant Borough Council (HBC) employed consultants who came up with some ideas about the whole Market Parade area in general.
‘HBC aborted this work and leapt at HRPG who promised to build on just half of the site.
‘The Green Party supports the idea of a modern development there, provided it’s proportional and of sufficient design quality to enhance the environment.
‘It’s good to see the space now being used as a temporary car park, but that was promised at the time of demolition years ago.
‘HBC should re-start their work for the whole of Market Parade, which they aborted when this development was approved.’
Havant resident Ann Buckley said: ‘Many people will be pleased to learn this development isn’t going ahead, but there is support for regeneration on the Market Parade site and I would prefer to see a less dense development built.
‘That’s better than the proposals to build on so many greenfield sites such as Campdown in Purbrook, and Forty Acres in Bedhampton.
‘HBC promised residents a public meeting to discuss a Local Development Order for the Market Parade area, but this has not happened.
‘A new car park is the last thing needed at the front of Havant Train Station, Network Rail recently made their car park at the rear of it much bigger.’
The council said it has no involvement with the car park being built.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Permission for the temporary car park was granted in 2013. Havant Borough Council has no involvement in the car park other than granting planning permission.’