Lower Road Bedhampton – ‘Same again please’

Back towards the end of November, we commented on the new application for fifty homes at Lower Road, Bedhampton, which Luken Beck had submitted on behalf of Bargate Homes. Their previous application had been convincingly refused in March 2020, and while Bargate had already taken it to appeal, somebody thought it would be a bright idea to ‘try it on’ by resubmitting it with trivial modifications. As we observed at the time, the supporting letter that accompanied the application didn’t exactly disguise their motives.

Fortunately, we’re pleased to report that at yesterday afternoon’s Development Management Committee, after debating the extent – or lack of – of any material change from the previous application, the Members came to exactly the same conclusion as they had in March 2020.

In addition to deputations from Local and County Councillors, there were three deputations from members of the public. Pat Brookes had submitted a written deputation on behalf of ‘Havant Friends of the Earth’ and ‘Havant Climate Alliance’. Philipa Gray had also submitted a written deputation as a Bedhampton resident while Ron Tate, from the the Bedhampton Heritage Alliance, had submitted a third.

Given the ‘Five minute rule’ on deputations, the three public deputees agreed that Mr. Tate should use the full five minutes to present his deputation, a strategy that worked well, as you can hear below. It fell to David Jobbins of Luken Beck to present the sole deputation in support of the application.

Mr Tate’s deputation, followed by Mr Jobbin’s, can be heard by playing the following video.

While Mr Jobbins noted that permission for the first application had been refused in March 2020, he observed that was only in respect of the possible impact upon the setting of the Old Bedhampton Conservation Area. For some reason which seemed inexplicable to all, simply moving it a few feet to the south east in the new version was deemed not to make much of a difference to this setting.

At the end of the day, the verdict was the same as it had been for the previous application submitted by Bargate Homes. The ‘revised’ application was refused by six votes with one uncharacteristic abstention – Cllr Keast.

While sanity has once more prevailed in the case of Lower Road, we are concerned with the apparent lack of adequate transport analysis. Faced with a 400 page Transport Statement by the developer’s team, based on largely theoretical traffic modelling, Hampshire County Council’s Transport Planner dismisses residents’ concerns in barely half a page.

As for the Havant Borough Council ‘Traffic Team’, their only contribution to the application was this: “The Traffic Team would raise the concern that there does not appear to be clearly defined the additional 20% parking allocation for visitor parking, as per HBC supplementary parking document July 2016. KRC”

Once again, the Havant Borough Council ‘Traffic Team’, demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of Havant’s traffic woes. We can only assume that ‘KRC’ works in the Petersfield office and has never travelled south of Butser.

[Note: Jan 15, we now understand that the HBC Traffic Team “only deal with parking and traffic Regulation Orders” and she is based at Petersfield.]