Some residents of Fathoms Reach expressed concerns to HIRA about other residents being approached to sell their homes to a developer in order for the latter to put in a planning application for the, currently, 'open' land behind Fathoms Reach. Havant BC Planning Services have now answered my two questions below, which pivot around local residents' understanding - when they were sold their properties on Fathoms Reach - that the land behind had to remain 'open'. I am posting the Council's response to our email email@example.com so that those concerned about this issue can read it. The Council Officer did not state that the information is confidential.
What were the original terms made by Havant BC to Laing, the original developer of Fathoms Reach on Hayling Island, which had stated that the land 'behind' the development must be kept 'open land'?
In 1987, three applications were received by Havant Borough Council (HBC) from Laing Development for the Fathoms Reach Site (at the time, known as the former land of Southleigh Holiday Park). HBC refused to permit any of the three applications.
As such, Laing took all three applications to an appeal. During the inspector’s investigations, Laing had stated that if any of their applications were approved by an inspector that they would seek a S52 agreement (the predecessor of a Section106 agreement) to use the east of the site (the land we are now discussing) for horticulture, agriculture and/or public open space.
Following this, the Planning Inspectorate published their report on 10th September 1987 in favour of one of the three options. With this, the following point was highlighted in the report; ‘’an undertaking now given not to use the 2.2ha recreational area otherwise than for agriculture, horticulture, forestry or recreation will be entered into formally if so required’’. As such, an application was re-submitted by Laing under planning reference 15820/18 following the Inspectorate’s report. It is understood that HBC granted planning permission for the re-submitted application on 18th December 1987.
The S52 legal agreement was drawn up and signed on 4th November 1988. The agreement highlighted the land we are now discussing. The agreement stated that HBC could acquire the land for the purpose of a covenant; however, the agreement stated that HBC had 21 years to do this, i.e. up to 4th November 2009. I can confirm that HBC did not acquire the land within the required timeframe.
Therefore, there is no binding legal agreement on the piece of land to the east of Fathoms Reach.
The land east of Fathoms Reach Site Submission:
As you will be aware, the landowner and agent have submitted the site to us with the potential for residential development. We have said to all landowners/agents that any recent site submissions will be assessed by the Council. The Council will determine whether or not a site is capable of delivering sustainable development; as such, HBC will publish its decision in the next Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) as to whether or not a site will be taken forward in the Draft Local Plan 2036. The next edition of the SHLAA will be available to support the Draft Local Plan later this year.