The good, the bad and the ugly – Another 444 homes in 3 planning applications

Here’s an update on 3 planning applications totalling 444 proposed new homes currently in the planning process for the area surrounding Havant Town.

They split neatly into three categories, the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

So first, the Good:

‘Cabbagefield Row’, 150 affordable homes on the shore of the Havant Thicket reservoir

At last, what seems to be an intelligently thought out, designed and documented Planning Application which puts affordable housing to the fore. This is an outline planning application for the creation of 150 dwellings with 100% affordable housing, designed for layout, scale and access, including biodiversity enhancements and buffers and species-specific enhancements, sustainable drainage, car parking and public open space.

Portsmouth City Council have commissioned this 100% affordable scheme at the Cabbagefield Row site in Warren Park to meet demand from both Havant Borough Council (HBC) and Portsmouth City Council (PCC) housing waiting lists. There are over 1500 applications on the HBC waiting list and of the 1500 people on PCC’s waiting list, over 800 will accept a home in the Warren area of Havant.

It’s a fine example of the historic synergy between PCC and HBC, providing benefits to both councils and once again begging the question: “How on earth did Havant Borough Council end up being run by East Hants District Council?!”

This illustrative street scene from Havant Town’s PDP Architects shows a clear nod to climate change adaptation – something that the in-house ‘architects’ engaged by Barratt Homes and the other major developers seem to feel they can ignore.
In this image, it’s worth noting the location of ‘Cabbagefield Row’, within walking distance of the employment opportunities at Dunsbury Park. Now wouldn’t that have been a good place to put an Amazon distribution centre?

Let’s move on to the Bad:

100 homes on the Hulbert Road, north of B&Q

This second application is the outline Planning Application for 100 homes off Hulbert Road, just to the north of B&Q. This application has been around for a year or so but after some recently added modifications and a reduction from 120 to 100 homes, it’s up for consideration at the next Planning Committee Meeting, on October 21st. The Planning Officer has recommended that approval be granted, despite the fact that the site was not previously allocated for housing in the Havant Borough Local Plan. The usual excuses, along with the justification for felling mature trees to provide pedestrian and cycle access, can be found in the ‘Executive Summary’ which can be viewed here.

In the graphic below, the six areas of housing comprise three lots of apartments alongside the A3(M) and three lots of housing alongside the Hulbert Road with some token new trees and a play area. Also shown in the graphic is the site of the proposed Lidl store with its parking for 132 cars, nestling between B&Q and ‘the B&Q roundabout’. Again, a fair amount of that traffic will be passing through the Asda roundabout, adding to the fun and games there. The Lidl Store planning application can be found here.

The site has never been allocated in the development plan for residential development and in 2008, was granted temporary permission for the construction and operation of oil and gas exploration operation. In the emerging Local Plan, the application site is promoted as an ‘omission site’ as part of the Local Plan examination, which the Inspectors have indicated that they will consider the merits of as part of the Stage 2 hearings in the Autumn/Winter 2021. Therefore, the status of the site has the potential to change as the examination progresses.

While it is also currently safeguarded in the emerging Local Plan for a combined emergency services hub, the council have now ascertained that there may no longer be such a need and as a result, the pressure is on to get this planning application for 100 homes through as a ‘housing number quick fix’.

If it has to be developed, it would surely be much more use to the town as an employment site, given its easy access to the A3(M), Dunsbury Park and the local employment pool?

And so, to the Ugly:

194 new homes at ‘the other Saxon Corner’

Next up, it’s Warblington’s turn to get a plague of Barratt Homes’ in-house ‘architecture’, perhaps more realistically describable as mass-produced, characterless prefabs.

Just look at the depressing example street scenes, below:

The application is for another 194 dwellings which will close off the Warblington / Emsworth gap forever. In the graphic below, the triangular site in the centre amounts to the Barratts application, with the already-approved Persimmon Homes development filling the strip of land to the west which abuts the Castle Avenue houses. Traffic from this lot will all enter and leave via the once-quiet St Georges Avenue, joining Southleigh Road opposite Warblington School, or heading down Warblington Avenue to the A27.

So there you have it.

Another 444 houses, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Given HBC’s track record, we can expect all three applictions to be approved without any real and substantial debate. Recent experience tells us that it’s all about the housing targets and nothing to do with those inconveniences such as heritage, the natural environment or any shared long term vision for the borough’s future.

The traffic impacts of these developments will, as is usual for HBC, be considered in splendid isolation from any other surrounding developments. As a result, the Asda roundabout, which despite its recent redevelopment is already starting to creak at the seams, will see an influx from the Hulbert Road housing, the new Lidl store and the traffic directed to the A3(M) from the Pfizer site Folly at 32 New Lane. Over to the east, the design of the Warblington A27/Southleigh junction decision starts to look questionable given the new Barratt developments either side, the impact of the Amazon decision and the cumulative Chichester District Council housing developments between the A259 and the railway to the east of Emsworth.