Brockhampton West – Application for Outline Planning

Having called their bluff over the possibility that they might have created another ‘Potash Terrace‘, there are signs that at least part of the HBC Regeneration Strategy might actually be getting somewhere – either by accident or by design. It appears that despite previous concerns held by residents groups and back-bench councillors alike, there actually might be a viable plan coming forward for Brockhampton West.

We’ll reserve judgement, of course, given that landowners around here have a habit of sitting on sites, sometimes for decades, maximising their profits by simply obtaining the outline planning permission which adds value to their investment. This application is just that, an application for outline planning approval. However, this one m-i-g-h-t just be different so since we’re in an upbeat mood today and looking at it in a positive light, let’s take a look at what’s proposed.

The application offers three indicative site layouts as illustrations. These show either one, two or three large three storey sheds, with HGV and car parking, which is in line with the objective for the site set out in the Opportunity Havant Regeneration Strategy. Located with direct access to the major A27/A3(M) junction, this is an application to build a site for letting to distribution / warehousing / ‘last mile’ delivery operations.

The proposed style of the structure would be difficult to reimagine, but the following elevations, which relate to the single large ‘Unit 1’ option above, give an idea of the kind of structure that we might expect in a later planning application.

The company who have acquired the land are Derbyshire-based Clowes Development Ltd. a company with a dozen ‘land development’ projects in the UK, most clustered around their home in Derbyshire and just a couple as far south as London. They’re not the first Derbyshire-based development company to look south, Bloor Homes are also active in this area though on East Hants’ land at Dell Piece East.

Clowes Development make bold claims on their website:

Each of our projects includes a commitment to its neighbouring communities to not only create a better environment but to leave an employment and skills legacy, enabling future generations to prosper. We take our responsibility to do the right thing very seriously. It’s what separates us from our peers. Very few companies can – or will – do what we do.

Our Property Development & Investment Approach | Clowes Developments – (noted!)

They’ve certainly done their homework and there’s a weighty set of documentation that appeared on the DVD that accompanied their cheque for £19,574 to HBC. You can take a look at it all here if you want to get down in the weeds of the detail. Otherwise, read on for a few highlights.

The ‘Preliminary Geo-Environmental Risk Assessment’ is a good place to start if you’re concerned about what’s beneath the surface on that former landfill site. (It’s got a lovely ‘green’ cover and since this staff writer is a sucker for beech leaves it was the obvious place to start.) Click the image to open the document.

The nine appendices are where the detail is, and there’s a lot of it if you really feel like going through it. Refer to the planning application itself and you’ll see them loaded as nine separate documents at the bottom of the list.

For those who just like looking at old maps, Appendix D – Selected Historical Maps is the one to look at and the file which includes the old Soviet military Cold War map we used in our ‘teaser’ post yesterday. Be warned, at 16Mb this appendix is no lightweight file but for map enthusiasts, you can view all 50 pages here.

It’s worth noting that some of the maps used throughout this application show the land as a ‘Playing Field’ and the response from Sport England offers a suggestion for those that consider that this application “involves the loss of any sports facility”. Other documentation includes The Design and Access Statement which is usually worth a quick look. For those looking at the green credentials of the development, the BREEAM Assessment document for the sustainability of new development can be found here.

The Consultee response from Hampshire Archaeology is a little sad. In his letter, David Hopkins, the County Archaeologist, does not object to the application but adds the historical note that “Archaeological sites were recorded when the land was stripped in preparation for land reclamation. It seems very likely that the archaeological potential of the site, which would have been high given the harbour edge location, has been removed or severely compromised.” . This raises an important point with regard to the Campdown site development, for which a new planning application is expected by Persimmon Homes. Campdown has a rich archaeological history, as well as ecological importance, and we will be taking a strong line with that application when it appears.

Clowes Development have also included a comprehensive-looking Ecology Report . In their response, we note that the RSPB as a consultee, have objected to the application on the grounds that it “fails to consider indirect impacts towards adjacent functionally-linked land to internationally designated sites and therefore is not compliant with The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.”

Havant Civic Society do not currently plan to object to the application given the strategic benefits already identified in the Regeneration Strategy. Once developed, or should that be if it gets developed, it will provide much needed employment in a strategic industry sector which could pull through further business opportunity. The location of this employment site should not impact town centre traffic although the loading on the Bedhampton ‘teardrop’ A27/A3(M) interchange may require fine tuning.

We note that HBC are already getting more than a little excited by the ‘opportunities’ which could be offered by last week’s announcement in the budget of the shortlisting of the ‘Solent Freeport’ bid. Cllr. Wilson, Leader of the Council, made reference to HBC’s involvement in the Solent LEP Freeport Bid in a recent Council meeting, though at the time he was citing the Dunsbury Farm employment site on the A3(M) (a site actually owned by Portsmouth City Council). The Brockhampton West site, developed along the lines of this current outline planning application, would be a good fit with the Freeport and we’ll be writing more on that in the next few days.

Some might think it’s rather a shame that Havant Borough Council decided to sell this last major land asset they possessed. With the increased focus from the Freeport ‘opportunity’ and the benefit of outline planning approval, it could be only a matter of months before Clowes simply capitalise on the investment they’ve made in all these documents. It took the original purchaser of Potash Terrace several years.

If you want to comment on this application, please take this link to be taken to the HBC ‘Comments’ page.

Last but not least, the first ‘HCS Comic Sans‘ award of 2021 goes to ‘Shirley’ at the the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Congratulations Shirley! Yes, it’s the first time that we’ve seen an otherwise professional piece of documentation attached to a planning application using this immature and silly font this year!