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A Field Too Far? Have your say on housing development at Westwood Close, Emsworth

By 8 August, 2018 No Comments

Havant Borough Council has received a planning application for the development of 46 houses, including 116 car parking spaces, diversion of a public footpath and felling of trees, at Land off Westwood Close in Emsworth.  The deadline for members of the public to comment is Wednesday 22 August – search for APP/18/00672

Will this be a future example of profiteering at the expense of our environment?

If the development goes ahead, we would lose one of the few remaining open field country walks left in Emsworth. The footpath through the field is very popular with ramblers, dog walkers, joggers and families out for a stroll.

The area is a natural soakaway for the surrounding area and in the winter it is often waterlogged. During the winter, the water table is less than half a meter below the surface. It is considered that these factors make it unsuitable for housing.

It is estimated that there will be at least 200 extra car movements a day down Westwood Close, Wickor Way, Westbourne Avenue and New Brighton Road.

Have your say

Every letter or email counts – just respond before 5pm on Wednesday 22 August.

Full details of the planning application are available on Havant Borough Council’s Planning Portal – search for APP/18/00672. To comment on the planning application:

  • comment online – search for APP/18/00672. You can also find the Planning Portal from Havant Borough Council’s homepage
  • email: planning.development@havant.gov.uk
  • write to: Planning Services, Havant Borough Council, Civic Centre Way, Havant, PO9 2AX

Development on this water meadow is damaging because:

  • The field is at risk of flooding and the proposed development is located only a few feet from the boundary of Flood Zones 2 and 3.
  • Havant Borough Council rejected a planning application on this site in 2013 on the grounds of the risk of flooding – nothing has changed since.
  • The site is not in a sustainable location and has no access to public transport.
  • Relocating the footpath would put it right next to the River Ems, potentially making it unusable in the winter.
  • The area is home to four species of bat, two of which are endangered, and which feed above the hedgerows that would be removed.
  • The development would include 116 car parking spaces. All these cars would access the site via Westwood Close, which is very narrow, and would get onto New Brighton Road via Westbourne Avenue or Wickor Way. Getting out of these roads is already difficult at peak times during the day.
  • The site would use a sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) which relies on holding rainwater beneath the roads before releasing it. In winter, the water table is only 40cm below the surface, so there would be nowhere for the water to go.
  • There is a risk of polluting the River Ems, which is home to many species, including water voles and salmon. It will impact both the River Ems water quality to Chichester Harbour and planned regeneration of the River Ems as a chalk stream – both internationally recognised as endangered habitats.
  • Havant Borough Council’s draft Local Plan has identified sufficient sites to meet its housing requirement. It would still meet that requirement without this site.
  • The site meets all the criteria to become a designated green space, which would protect it for the future enjoyment of the community.