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Ann Buckley: Our priceless natural assets are at risk

Campdown, in Havant, where it is feared the green space could be lost to housing

Campdown, in Havant, where it is feared the green space could be lost to housing

Published in the Portsmouth News on the 28th November 2016


CAMPDOWN is a heritage area situated in a green gap between Havant, Purbrook and west Bedhampton – and its millennia-long history is under threat.

With a past going back to the Bronze Age and archaeology dating from Roman, Saxon and Medieval times, this ancient site is now on Havant Borough Council’s early release list of future housing development sites.

It is not just Campdown’s rich heritage that’s under threat.

The site has a diverse ecology and hedgerows abundant with food for birds and other wildlife.

It is also a Brent goose feeding ground and teems with native bird life including woodpeckers and wagtails.

The tree-rich land near the proposed site provides habitats for a variety of field creatures including the dormouse stringently protected under UK and EU legislation.

Following its inclusion in Havant Borough Council’s housing statement, Campdown’s numerous natural treasures are at serious risk, if not from destruction, then permanent damage.

The statement proposes 400 dwellings and sports facilities on part of Campdown and land north of Fort Purbrook, another national monument.

Further inquiries by HBRA, whose members include nationally-recognised environment groups, suggest there has been no contact by Havant Borough Council with the chief archaeologist for Hampshire.

The potential environmental damage to Campdown and many other greenfield sites targeted throughout the borough suggests Havant Borough Council needs to think again about the long-term consequences of its draft plan.

Much is made by local and national government of the importance of sustainable development.

In essence, it means living within our means or not destroying what we enjoy now for future generations.

Everybody agrees there is a housing crisis, but Havant Borough Council’s housing statement offers little tangible help to those most in need in the borough, as well as putting at risk some of its priceless natural assets.

Ann Buckley is chairman of the Havant Borough Residents Alliance.

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