Emsworth Town and neighbourhood planning.

In addition to the weekly list of planning applications that are displayed on the Community Notice Board outside the Co-op, please visit Havant Borough Council for a list of planning applications within the Borough and for Emsworth Town and surrounding area. This is where you can make comments about applications. Your voice will count.

To view the details of any planning application, simply click on the appropriate APP reference in the top left hand corner. You will be able to see all the planning details, the Case Officer to contact, copies of all concerns and objections, last dates to submit representations as well as correspondence from the relevant council departments.

If you have any concerns or queries regarding any planning application, please contact Charles Ashe at the ERA, 01243 379296, or email ashe.family@btinternet.com

ERA presentation at Development Consultation Forum for land north of Long Copse Lane, 17 April 2018.

This site is a relatively isolated one, and quite unsuitable for a development of 260 homes. Its location is remote from any form of local service. Long Copse Lane is a narrow country lane, and its position will mean that virtually every day to day journey will have to be made by car. This will place a huge strain on the local infrastructure, and will fundamentally conflict with the principles of sustainable development. To quote from the draft Havant Local Plan 2036, referencing the draft to the National Planning Policy Framework – ”At the heart of the NPPF is the presumption in favour of sustainable development, a golden thread running through the planning system.” It looks as if the golden thread has run out at Long Copse Lane.

We cannot agree that this site should be seen as a sustainable urban extension. The proposal is to make an overly dense development in a semi-rural location that would be totally out of keeping with the locality. Any facilities and services required by the average family, and that would go towards fulfilling the requirements to enable a development to be ‘sustainable’-that is local schools, doctors surgeries, public transport, employment, shopping-cannot be accessed from this site without a car. The possible inclusion of a convenience store at the site will not alter this for 260 homes.

Presently there are approximately 46 dwellings in Long Copse Lane, including those in and planned for in Redlands Lane. 260 extra homes will increase the dwellings by just over 5.5 times – all of which will have to use Long Copse Lane. This narrow country lane has no pavement whatsoever in its length and no street lighting. With such a projected increase in housing and the resulting car journeys, pedestrian travel will be dangerous, and it would be irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

Presently, the lane is popular with walkers and horse riders. While walkers may be able to note and take action to evade the inevitable increase in traffic, it will be far more dangerous for riders and their horses to do so. Drivers who are not aware of the need to pass a horse at a low speed and a wide berth could well inadvertently cause accidents.

At times the lane narrows to a point where it will allow only one carriage width, so making passing impossible at those points. At the Westbourne end, the lane narrows to such a point. All this would make entry and exit difficult, frustrating, and quickly cause traffic backup along the lane. Road widening can only be achieved in certain areas and certainly not the whole lane length, so pinch points, as highlighted above, will remain.

This site development will also conflict with Policy E18 (Protected Species) of the Draft HBC Local Plan 2036 relating to the conservation and enhancement of the natural environment. Development in the area has the potential to harm protected species. The Hampshire Bat Group database contains 916 bat records, dating from 1999 to 2017 and comprising records of 13 species. Bechstein bat roosts are known to be present. These are a protected species and there is little evidence to demonstrate the success of mitigation measures. Hollybank Wood is part of SINC extending over Southleigh Forest and is deserving of protection. We would remind Havant Borough Council of their responsibilities in this regard: to quote from the Draft Local Plan under the section Protected Species, paragraph 5.240 “…the Council will work to protect, enhance and link existing natural features and designated sites (as highlighted in Policy E15) in order to protect the habitats which support protected species where they are afforded statutory protection. Any potential impacts on these species will need to be addressed to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority.”

Drainage and surface water flooding is also a serious issue that local residents that has often highlighted to us. The natural contour of the land means that there is a north to south flow that is of particular concern to those properties on the south side of the lane. Development of this site will only increase the problem, and while the developers have outlined SUD schemes, it will be crucial to carefully examine their true capability and how they will be managed. (At present, a drainage ditch on the northern part of the lane, at the western end, is voluntarily managed and cleared by one family).

In conclusion, the ERA believes that the adverse effects of this proposal would significantly outweigh the benefits. The ERA has noted the suggestion from the Emsworth Forum, that this site and the proposal of Land at Westwood Close H10, should be dropped by the Borough Council, and that the number of homes suggested for both sites be reallocated to the Southleigh site KS5. Such a move would enable the Borough to fulfil its target of homes, and allow two green sites, both eminently unsuitable for development, to remain undeveloped and remain part of the green infrastructure of Emsworth and the Borough. We strongly suggest that the Borough Council seriously examine these points before making an irrevocable decision.

Emsworth Residents Association response to the Draft Havant Borough Local Plan 2036, February 2018

Key Sites Southleigh KS5
Under the comprehensive scheme outlined for KS5 Southleigh site, page 57, the ERA suggests that the Council should also consider the provision of a secondary school, or at least consider where else secondary education can be found for children from this site. Also, the provision of a doctor’s surgery should be considered.

Infrastructure – Improving Transport Infrastructure
The ERA is disturbed by the lack of detail with regard to the Transport Assessment (TA).  At 4.21 it states that it has not been possible to complete the TA nor does it give details of when this will be completed.

At IN2 it lists Improving Transport Infrastructure but again with no details. The ERA suggests that Hampshire County Council, which is the Local Highway Authority, needs to coordinate with Highway England and West Sussex CC to develop a strategic plan for the area.  The continued building of houses along the A259 in West Sussex, an additional set of lights at Selangor Avenue and no clear planned improvement to the infrastructure will mean Emsworth will very quickly become gridlocked.

Overall, the ERA believes that this lack of detail to the Transport Assessment means that the Draft Local Plan is not complete. How does Havant Borough Council expect its residents to comment on an incomplete plan?  The importance of the TA to the Local Plan can hardly be overstated, and we will bring this omission to the attention of the Planning Inspector, unless a complete TA is produced and can be reviewed and commented on by residents in a realistic time.

Infrastructure – Future Management and Management Plans
The ERA has concerns over how well the new policy of the Council in requiring maintenance of ‘common parts’ to fall on individual householders through private management companies, will work in practice.

For instance, the management of surface water, and provision of sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) is very much a concern on all of the ten Emsworth sites identified in the draft local plan.

In particular, the new site at Westwood Close H10, may be subject to a planning application. The Council acknowledge that the site has drainage problems in their draft plan; however, a potential developer at a recent Development Consultation Forum in January, was unable to satisfactorily explain how their proposed SuD scheme would work.

This problem highlights how surface water management and the provision of sustainable drainage systems are frequently contentious matters especially in areas of fluvial flooding.

The successful installation of SuDs is dependent on contractor’s competence, and their performance is dependent on regular monitoring and maintenance. In the case of the proposal at Westwood Close, this would be of added concern as the developer had indicated that the roads on the site would be unadopted; how would regular servicing be guaranteed in such a case?

On proposed sites that have ecological sensitive issues, the ERA has been interested to see the proposals put forward on such a site, H7 Land at Selangor Avenue. The Friends of the Earth have noted the concern that often results from the “significant divergence between the ecological measures proposed and what actually happens on the ground.” The FotE have suggested that an Ecological Clerk appointed to oversee ecological measures should report to an independent officer employed by HBC, and they also suggest the setting up of a local residents’ panel during construction determine phase with representation on the management company post construction.

This would seem to fit the proposals in Future Management and Management Plans proposed by HBC, and depending on when construction starts on this sites, could well provide a first test of how such a policy could work on other sites.

Infrastructure – Green Infrastructure
The ERA is pleased to see that under point 4.11 (where justified, development will be required to provide or contribute towards delivering the key infrastructure requirements for the Borough) sub-clause viii –

“Green infrastructure is essential in creating quality of place, underpins community health and wellbeing, and provides habitats for wildlife.”

We have already requested the additional local green spaces to be included in the Plan’s proposed list of Local Green Spaces, in addition to those already listed on p.99, Local Green Spaces.

  1. The eastern edge and north to south of the strategic site, Southleigh
  2. The western corridor of the River Ems- fields between Westbourne and Emsworth.  If the Council determines the application for the site H10 Westwood Close in favour of the applicant they will in effect rule out the residents request to include it in the list of Local Green Spaces.  This request  was presented to the Council in good time under consultation process of the draft local plan.  As this site has not been identified in the Local Plan the application for planning consent ought not to take precedence over the consultation period and subsequent consideration of all requests
  3. Southleigh Road Recreation Ground.
  4. Old hospital garden (adjacent to the Victoria Cottage Hospital site)
  5. The allotment sites off Warblington Road, and off Washington Road, and at Redlands Grange
  6. The field south of the A259 known as The Horses Field
  7. The fields south of the A259 which form part of Warblington Farm

Furthermore, although outside Emsworth, we would request that the following green spaces be included in their respective Local Green Spaces :

  1. Gundymoor Wood (off Purbrook Way)
  2. St Clares Wood (off St Clares Avenue)
  3. Covert Grove (AKA Frendstaple Woods)  off Frendstaple Way
  4. Stakes Coppice (off Holst Way)
  5. Hurst Wood (off Dornmere Lane)
  6. Purbrook Woods (off Purbrook Heath Road)
  7. The Environment. High Quality Design

The ERA has noted in 5.67, p.104, that ‘The Council is supportive of new technologies and construction methods as part of new development.’ This is an advance that the ERA welcomes, and from the comments made in February at the ERA AGM, we know that Emsworth residents consider  that new construction methods could help build economic affordable housing making it more realistically affordable.

Housing – Affordable Housing
The ERA believes that the provision of affordable housing is an absolute necessity in the Borough, and one that can be properly addressed and provided through this Local Plan. The wording of clause 6.31 states that “There is a very strong presumption that affordable housing will be provided by the developer on the development site.” It then goes on to admit that in certain circumstances they will consider accepting a financial contribution in lieu which will go towards a pool to implement affordable housing development. This, they acknowledge, may take a number of years to acquire adequate pooled funds. We would expect HBC to fully implement their policy stated in clauses 6.28 and 6.31 to ensure that the initial number of affordable homes are actually built, and not sacrificed by a commuted sum from the developer which has often been a fraction of the newbuilding cost.

Housing – Land North of Long Copse Lane UE76
This site is a relatively isolated one, and quite unsuitable for a development  of 260 homes. Long Copse Lane is a narrow country lane, and its position will mean that virtually every day to day journey will have to made by car, whether to school, work or shopping. This will place a huge strain on the local infrastructure.

The ERA has noted the suggestion from the Emsworth Forum, that this site and the proposal of Land at Westwood Close H10, should be dropped by the Borough Council, and that the number of homes suggested for both sites be reallocated to the Southleigh site KS5. Such a move would enable the Borough to fulfil its target of homes, and allow two green sites, both eminently unsuitable for development, to remain undeveloped and remain part of the green infrastructure of Emsworth and the Borough. We strongly suggest that the Borough seriously consider this suggestion.

Housing – Land at Westwood Close H10
This is a site with known drainage issues, which the Council readily acknowledges. Again the issue of how the existing infrastructure will cope with the proposed additional traffic will be an important issue. Overall, this is a site that should not be considered, and we refer to our comments relating to Land North of Long Copse Lane UE76 above.

Housing – North Street Gas Site H11
As a new site, the ERA has no immediate comment; we wait to see the details of any proposed development.

Housing – Former Victoria Cottage Hospital H12
As a new site, the ERA welcomes the outline suggestion of a mixed development of 15 dwellings and community uses. We wait to see details of any proposed development.

Housing – Land at Fowley Cottage H13
As a new site, the ERA has no immediate comment; we wait to see the details of any proposed development.