We see that Luken Beck, acting on behalf of Bargate Homes, have come back with a revised application for the land south of Lower Road, Bedhampton. This application, you may recall, was refused back in March this year. Having lodged an appeal to the planning inspector, Luken Beck have regrouped and reissued the proposal, accompanied by a supporting letter which displays much of the arrogance which so often gives their industry a bad name.
We quote from the letter in italics here:
“Further to the recent refusal of planning permission in respect of the above site and having regard to the principal reason for refusal regarding the impact upon the setting of the recently extended Bedhampton Conservation Area, Bargate Homes have revised their proposals to introduce much greater separation to Manor Farm Buildings which ensures that no harm arises to the significance of designated heritage assets. This is considered in detail in the accompanying Heritage Statement prepared by John Trehy of ToR.“
“The refusal of planning permission is currently the subject of a planning appeal to be determined by way of a Public Inquiry in February 2021 and this application is submitted on a without prejudice basis in the hope that need for the Inquiry can be avoided. As you will be aware such dialogue is encouraged and we hope you will conclude that the revised proposals are acceptable.“
“As previously, we are of the view that the proposals are entirely acceptable in the context of the site, its allocation within the emerging Local Plan and in the absence of a 5-Year Housing Land Supply within the Borough.“
This resubmission, together with its thinly veiled threat, is backed up by a Heritage Statement from Terence O’Rourke, an ‘award winning planning, design and environmental agency’. It’s worth a read, if only to see just how much creative verbage such an agency can generate when charging by the word rather than by the hour.
The conclusions set out in this document contains the following wonderful paragraph, written in the kind of language that the Council will no doubt view as shaping their future.
“It is important to define ‘harm’ to demonstrate that the proposals do not lead to
any harmful impacts on the heritage resource. Harm is change for the worse, the
effect of inappropriate interventions on the heritage interest of a place that
reduces their values and recognised significance to society. Change, for example
visual change, is not in itself an impact on the significance of a heritage asset. An
impact will only occur if the change affects the contribution made by its setting to
its overall significance. Change to setting is only of concern in heritage terms if it
gives rise to harm to the significance of the asset, i.e. that the significance is in
part derived from the asset’s current setting. It should not be automatically
assumed that visual change constitutes an adverse impact or that more visual
change will be a greater impact.”
The ‘N’ word
The application is supported by this nitrogen calculation. Since this would be new development on former farmland, it’s a done deal, a theoretical net decrease in nitrate load. The fact that it will take decades to flush out the historic deposition of farming nitrates on this site is conveniently ignored by central government’s overly simplistic spreadsheet.
In the meantime, the new houses which will inevitably be built under this convenient excuse will be contributing yet more to the unacceptable storm discharges by Southern Water into Langstone Harbour every time it rains.
As we’ve said before, Havant Borough Council’s convenient solution to the nitrate neutrality issue will result in significantly more pollution into the Solent harbours before an eventual improvement in a few decades time. Simply re-wilding the fields south of Lower Road would be infinitely preferable.
To view the revised application, please take this link:
To comment on the application, please take this direct link before the deadline of Friday 11 December.