Following a formal public enquiry held in February 2021, the Planning Inspectorate has considered a development south of Lower Road in Bedhampton. In his judgement, the inspector has granted planning permission.
The development of 50 new dwellings together with access, landscaping and open space was originally refused planning permission by Havant Borough Council in March 2020, as it was felt it would have a negative impact on the Old Bedhampton Conservation Area. Key attributes of this conservation area include its network of early lanes, its tranquil setting, protected trees and its natural springs, ponds and network of streams.
The applicant - Bargate Homes - appealed against the council's decision, leading to a formal enquiry in February 2021. Local residents took an active part in the enquiry via the Bedhampton Heritage Alliance and with "Rule 6 status" were able to cross-examine witnesses and put their case directly to the inspector.
After consideration, the inspector released his report earlier this month. The report acknowledged concerns about the impact of the development on the historical character of Old Bedhampton, and also any potential impact on the highway. Although the report felt the "distinctive character of the landscape would be diminished", the "proposed housing would yield significant social, economic and environmental benefits". Local housing need was seen as taking precedence, and led to the development being permitted by the inspector.
"We thank our residents and their efforts regarding the Lower Road appeal" said Councillor Clare Satchwell, Cabinet Lead for Planning. "The decision made by the Planning Inspectorate was not a rash one; it was comprehensive in its range and clear in its arguments. All relevant facts from all sides have been considered, and the council accepts the judgement made".