Summer has arrived and we all hope to have some respite from this continuing battle to Save LCL. However, there are many things we must continue to think about and be prepared to address in the coming weeks and months. The following is a summary of the key events and actions since our last update.
Unfortunately the Land & Partners appeal to the Secretary Of State did not go in our favour. The Inspector has ruled that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not required when considering any future planning application on the Land to the North of Long Copse Lane.
The Secretary of State recognises that there are environment sensitivities but feels these could be addressed though the planning application process. The decision in no way means that development is inevitable. The Council has placed a number of constraints on the site that would be difficult for any potential developer to satisfy, see section 8.2 of the Pre-Submission Local Plan.
The Secretary of State's Decision Letter and Written Statement can be viewed by following the links.
We will be continuing to build our case against any development to the north of Long Copse Lane. As part of the EIA process L&P published their plans for the widening of LCL to the west. See L&P Sponsored Transport Assessment from page 88. This will in no way mitigate against the expected increase in traffic and the the loss of the peaceful nature of LCL that is currently a benefit to all Emsworth residents.
The coordinator of the Havant Tree Wardens is working hard to construct an inventory of ancient and veteran oak trees across the Borough and in Long Copse Lane. This is important data and is being shared with the 'Trees Under Threat' team in the Woodland Trust.
We also need to be vigilant about investigations being conducted by those in favour of development. Recently Land & Partners sponsored an investigation to check if bats and bat roosts existed in the trees close to the Long Copse Lane road boundary. The investigation team did not consult with local experts on trees and bats before starting work. We have not seen their conclusions but there has been some serious resulting damage to veteran trees.
We have raised this issue with the Chartered Institute of Environment and Ecology management (CIEEM) and await their response.
Drainage and outflows of surface water is also a concern, not just flood risks but also water quality. The environment agency is concerned about river water quality in its latest statements and we must all be concerned about preserving the unique chalk streams in the South of England.
Natural England, the Government’s advisors on the natural environment, has released a recommendation that all new housing developments have to meet strict environmental rules over nitrate levels. This, they say, is because high levels of nitrogen pollution are affecting nationally protected sites in the Solent area and new housing contributes additional nitrogen to the water through drainage.
Havant Borough Council produced a 'Position Statement', which aims for all new development to be 'nitrate neutral'. They plan to charge a levy on any development that is within 5.6 km of Chichester and Langstone Harbour. The money raised would be used to mitigate against the effects of the additional nitrates. However, it does not make clear the true cost of nitrogen neutrality and how it can actually be achieved. Plus who will ultimately have to foot the bill, developers or developers with additional funding from council tax payers. The statement was rushed through with little public consultation and is open to challenge.
As a consequence of the nitrates issue Havant Friends Of the Earth have organised an online petition (and supporting article) urging Havant Council to develop a local action plan to manage the impact of climate change in the Borough. Numerous Local authorities have already signed up and they include Chichester, Portsmouth and Hampshire County Council. The petition threshold for a full council debate is 1500-one of the highest in Hampshire. Havant Friends Of the Earth are working with Cllr Richard Kennett to get this reduced to 1000 (it’s 500 in Portsmouth) Climate Change Petition Call.
There is quite a small window of opportunity to raise objections following the submission of a formal planning application. Often developers place applications during the holiday period in the hope they will be unnoticed.