A report was presented to Havant Borough Council Cabinet Members in June 2020, detailing proposals to ‘rewild’ the fields currently attached to Warblington Farm.
The true purpose is less high-minded: to enable the Council to support more house-building while still complying with environmental standards.
The idea is to offset the nitrates in the sewage from new housing against the reduction in nitrate run-off from the previously intensively-farmed fields.
So for example Campdown (which is a green-field site) will be able to be built on with over 650 homes, and house-building on some previously unuseable brown-field sites will also be enabled.
The legitimacy of this approach has been questioned, but the Council issued a press release on 11 September 2020 confirming that the plan is to go ahead.
That press release is misleading, however, and contains several inaccuracies.
It incorrectly states that Havant Borough Council bought the land for this project. Actually, the land has been owned by the Council for many years and leased to a tenant farmer.
More importantly, both the press release and the ‘Environment Minister’ Rebecca Pow suggest that Havant residents are about to get ‘a green open space for them to enjoy’. The reality is that the land will be taken out of agricultural production and then looked after by the farmer without public access.
We understand that there will not be a nature reserve on the site for at least a decade.
Phil Munday, Chair of St Faiths and Emsworth Labour Party, said
“I am concerned about the secrecy and confusion that has surrounded the project, which was lacking in transparency, with residents excluded from meetings.”
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