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A major housing development on a green field site in north Emsworth has got the go ahead by Havant Council.

Emsworth Residents Association organised almost 400 letters of objection including one from Havant FOE to the 280 new homes planned on the Hampshire Farms site (Picture above) near the Sussex border. Concerns about flooding, access to the site, extra traffic and wildlife, particularly rare bats, were brushed aside as councillors voted 4 to 3 in favour.

Hopes were raised when the council initially voted against the proposal. But, at a reconvened meeting, the developers successfully convinced members to support the plan.

Hampshire Farms is the first of a string of green field sites in the borough that could go the same way. In 2008 Havant Council signed up to 6300 new homes with up to 60% on green field sites like Hampshire Farms. An opportunity to revise down the number after the 2010 election was declined and the number has now been confirmed in the Local Plan. Council officers disclosed that 1300 new homes applications are currently approved awaiting starts.

Even so this does not equate to a five year development land supply which the planning process demands. At an average of 315 houses a year this would have to be 1575 plus the 200 plus arrears. Ignoring this could trigger successful appeals against refusal. The site was designated a reserve site, one that would be needed only if necessary.

Developers have won important legal decisions in other areas against reserve status, effectively abolishing the distinction between core and reserve. Green fields are cheaper and easier to develop than brown fields that often need remedial work before construction. The outlook for the provisional green field sites look set to go the same way.

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