Hayling community welcomes council’s decision to refuse 210 homes on island

Fields surrounding Rooks Farm Way on Hayling Island
Fields surrounding Rooks Farm Way on Hayling Island

Hayling schools to join forces for family fun day

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A COMMUNITY is in high spirits after a developer was refused permission to build 210 homes on Hayling Island.

But residents have warned the council it must commit to protecting Hayling’s special character.

Havant Borough Council turned down Gladman Developments permission to build on Rook Farm, Hayling Island, in what it said would see ‘the addition of an unsustainable development in a non-urban area, for which there is no overriding justification’.

The bid, which included apartments with care, open space for the public, play areas and more, was submitted in January.

But many people had raised concerns, stating that the current roads and public services would not cope.

The council addressed this in its objection, and added: ‘The proposal does not adequately address the infrastructure requirements for the development by itself, and in combination with other sites on Hayling Island.’

The leader of the Hayling Island Residents’ Association welcomed the news.

Anne Skennerton said: ‘Many are happy about the sensible decision to not allow the development of prime agricultural land, that could be needed in the event of predicted sea level rises. Rook Farm is one of the few areas on the island that wouldn’t flood.

‘The refusal represents a victory for those of us who value such a productive asset that can produce quality, locally-grown foods for our region, but the council still needs to make clear its commitment to supporting Hayling’s special character.

‘The island’s status, historic culture with Roman remains, well-established high-quality agricultural fields, working farms, oyster beds, and rural lanes make up that character.

‘The invaluable tourist economy must be preserved, but Hayling can’t be treated like a cash cow. Plans for the island must rejuvenate and protect small businesses.

‘Regular bus connections to and beyond the Hayling Ferry for students, commuters, and cyclists are essential to take the pressure off our single access route, Langstone Bridge.’

Other reasons for objection, of which there were 12, included concerns about pressure on Special Protection Areas both Chichester and Langstone harbours, harm to protected species, loss of habitat, transport, and safety.

Mark Coates, a campaigner for the welfare of the island, said: ‘While I, like other residents, have reservations about the possibility of this decision being overturned, the initial one is landmark because the reasons for objection are pertinent to future potential developments.

‘We’ve reached housing saturation. Our one-road-in, one-road-out system puts unsustainable pressure on the A3023.

‘Our emergency services are strained, as is the medical centre, the schools that are part of the £1.1m funding cuts per year, and a lack of drainage and flood relief – so you can see why islanders are passionate about preventing further large-scale housing developments.’