Campdown – A development proposal that's wrong on so many levels…

The Campdown development application for the site east of College Road, west of the A3(M) and bordering Crookhorn, brings into focus many of the challenges that must be faced if the Havant Regeneration Programme is to succeed. Conservation of heritage sites, buildings and infrastructure provides a sense of identity and continuity in a fast changing world. Understanding how places change, and recognising the significance of their history, is the key to successful and sustainable regeneration.

Campdown is a green-field site of both ecological and archaeological significance, allocated in the currently adopted plan for ‘recreation or leisure’.  The pre-submission Local Plan 2036 changes this allocation to ‘mixed use, up to 560 homes, shops and sports facilities’, removing the protection currently afforded.  This change in allocation reflects the sad reality that planning policy is increasingly driven by the need to achieve questionable targets for ‘five year housing supply’ imposed by central government.

As a development plan relating to a land allocation that has not yet been passed by the Planning Inspector, this speculative planning application is like several others within the borough, including the Forty Acres site recently approved, and Havant Borough Council are duty bound to decide such applications within a statutory period. 

In our view, the Campdown development site should never have been included in the 2036 Local Plan and we have some confidence that the change of allocation for Campdown will eventually be overturned when the pre-submission Local Plan is reviewed by the Inspector later this year.

Given the summary of ‘Opportunities and Constraints’ relating to the Campdown site included in the pre-submission local plan, Havant Borough Council shouldn’t be surprised at the strength of objections received.

The application submitted by Persimmon Homes, is for a total of 780 homes, representing a 40% increase in the proposed allocation for a green-field site of archaeological significance. A buried Roman villa in the northern part of the site is already designated as a scheduled monument while to the south; a Neolithic long barrow and a mediaeval cemetery are known to exist.  The site is also an important grazing site for the Brent Geese and Curlew of the Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Area (SPA), an internationally important wetland. 

While our primary objection is that this application is contrary to the current adopted development plan we support the many important objections already raised by more august bodies, notably:

Havant Police, commenting as a mandatory consultee, note with resignation that:  “This development is opposite the Crookhorn Estate, an area with relatively high levels of acquisitive crime and anti-social behaviour. It is a challenging area to police.” We can’t help feeling that the extension of that estate by 780 homes, bounded by a motorway, a fenced golf course and a fenced college premises would be increasing that level of challenge to an unacceptable extent for an already overstretched force.

We are concerned that HBC will view the promise of 780 homes as ‘too good an opportunity to miss’, particularly if the greenfield status might be used to help to alleviate the issue of nitrate neutrality that would otherwise block any decision to develop on a brownfield site.

With the planning consultation period ending on Friday Feb 14th, we are registering our objections and urging Havant Borough Council to reject, or at the very least defer, this application.

If you agree with us and wish to register your objection to this application, please take this link and fill in the form.