“Just Build It As The Approved Plans” was the message given by local Councillors and the Planning Committee to Linden Homes at the last planning meeting at East Hants when serious shortcomings at the Gales Brewery Site were formally raised.
In June this year a number of serious discrepancies between the car park to the new retail area in Horndean were identified compared to the approved plans. These were brought to the attention of the planning team, who raised them formally with Linden Homes expecting they would quickly be corrected. 6 months on and this has not yet occurred to the point where the planning managers at EHDC have taken a report to the planning committee which is the first step in enforcement.
The loss of the Gales Brewery to the community had a significant impact on Horndean and it is essential that the redevelopment (the only bit of brownfield land in Horndean) creates a quality and welcoming village centre. It is important that the finishes and layout reflect the conservation zone and make the centre of the village accessible and welcoming to allow the businesses to thrive and grow. The theme in the consultation plans was similar to the square in Petersfield.
The key to the design here was the car park. This was to be accessible on all sides and give an open welcoming feel to the new village centre. the need for high quality materials was identified by the developers and this too has not been carried forward into the final design.
The car park has been built too low. Rather than correct this, a wall was built to the back and sides which blocks access from the car park to the surgery building. This then necessitated a set of steps to allow access to the Spar and Surgery.
The steps and dog leg ramp take up not only one parking space, but also the space allocated to the trees which creates a further problem. The parking spaces around the trees were to have gaps between them to allow the trees to grow. These have been omitted and the parking spaces shuffled up, so the trees and the tree protection now encroach on the parking spaces which make 8 of these smaller than the approved size.
If you have parked in the car park and struggled to get out of the car, this is why. The trees to the main road are missing which is an important aspect of the ‘shared surface’ to keep busses and vehicles off the pavement. The block paving from the Spar to the Horndean Car Sales Lot is also missing as is the cobble rumble strip to the car park entrance, a wall to prevent people driving on the grass and street furniture. There is also an awkward set of steps between the post office and the surgery which should not have been installed.
For 6 months the Horndean Councillors and officers at EHDC have been pushing for a commitment and firm resolution from Linden Homes but we are yet to hear anything formal. Frankly we all expect the development to be built out as the approved plans. They were are after a period of extensive consultation and are the public realm area of the development and in the conservation zone. They are the proposals which were put forward by the developer themselves so it is not as if they are being asked to do something unreasonable.
Extract from approved plans: Paving has been replaced with tarmac, steps to the rear of the car park replaced with a wall, steps and ramp arrangement make 8 car park spaces too small and one is missing, trees to the front of the development are missing as is the street furniture. Steps by the post office prevent low mobility access to the surgery.
I have spoken to Brendan O’Neil, Managing Director of Linden Homes Southern, who has recently taken up the post and he is aware of the concerns. Brendan advises that “I am determined that we will be able to deliver a satisfactory solution in the interests of all, both the local community and as discussed, ourselves as we continue with our development of the main brewery buildings.”
Keep watching http://www.horndeanmatters.com to see how this is resolved.