DCSIMG

Final hurdle for homes allocations plan for Havant area

A PUBLIC hearing is underway to finalise a blueprint for where new homes should be built across Havant borough.

An independent planning inspector is examining a crucial planning document put forward by Havant Borough Council which outlines where they believe 6,300 new homes and 162,000 square metres of employment floor space should be sited by 2026.

Every planning authority must produce a Local Plan earmarking certain sites for housing.

Over the past 18 months, Havant’s has gone through several rounds of public consultation and must now be rubber stamped by the government-appointed inspector.

Potential sites include land west of Horndean Road, in Emsworth, and south of Bartons Road, Havant.

Bryan Jezeph, an independent planning consultant, questioned whether enough houses could be built within the next two years to satisfy the housing need.

He said he feels the council should release more land for development or risk failing to meet its targets.

Up until last year, there was a shortfall of almost 540 homes.

The hearing heard the target for 2014/15 is 683 new homes and 775 in 2015/16.

He said: ‘That seems to be highly improbable to me.’

But senior planning policy officer, Robyn Lyons, said the targets were ‘achievable and realistic’.

‘We are confident that we will achieve a large peak in delivery,’ she said.

‘We have been affected by market conditions. Things outside the council’s control have slowed the development of large sites.

‘For example, the cold winters have led to a brick shortage.’

But she added: ‘The sites are there. It’s just the rates at which they are coming forward. A lot of large sites have commenced and are underway.

‘There are more in the pipeline and we have a lot more applications on the table.’

Planning consultant Guy Bailey also questioned why Hayling Island has not been given a larger allocation.

He said: ‘There seems to be strong feelings in the council that Hayling is really quite restricted due to accessibility.

‘However the council’s own evidence suggests otherwise.’

But Mrs Lyons said the restrictions were also environmental.

The hearing is scheduled to conclude today.

 

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