Environmental concerns delay decision for 1,500 power station homes

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Fawley power station plans
Proposals for the centre of the Fawley power station redevelopment

A DECISION on approving the first stage of proposals for about 1,500 homes at Fawley power station has been delayed amid a string of environmental concerns from planners.

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A verdict on the outline application, which would still need further details approved before work could begin, has been put back to the end of April after agreement from developer Fawley Waterside Ltd.

Sticking points include ensuring that the £8m A326 improvements – which recently gained nearly £5.7m in government funding, as reported in the A&T – are “deliverable” without harming protected local habitats.

The overall scheme is for 1,500 homes plus 102,600 square metres of new commercial, civic and employment space, a 2,100-space underground car park, boat stack, and a primary school, if demand requires.

Public open space, a salt water lagoon and new wild grazing land is also proposed, and there are planned to be about 470 affordable homes.

Designs for how Fawley power station is proposed to be transformed

Outstanding issues were laid out in November last year in an 11-point letter from Ian Rayner, New Forest District Council’s principal development management officer.

A “fundamental concern” was how the scheme would be nitrate-neutral following a legal ruling in 2019 that requires housing to restrict levels of the pollutant flowing into protected areas, like the Solent.

Mr Rayner warned that “this issue remains one where considerable additional work is likely to be needed”.

Also demanded was an “essential” marine management plan to avoid harmful impacts of recreational activity.

Further concern was raised about compensating for the loss of nature sites by creating new heath and grassland at Fawley Quarry – which potentially will not be restored for years after the habitats have been lost.

Work was also required for managing recreational access to protected sites, design guidelines, and contributions.

Most of the power station development site is under the planning jurisdiction of New Forest District Council, with a smaller area within the national park.

Both authorities previously gave an extension on a decision to mid-January, which has now been further extended.

A326 imporvements

Details have been revealed by Hampshire County Council of the proposed improvements to eight junctions on the A326 to cope with the increase in traffic from the power station development, which residents fear will worsen congestion.

Cllr Rob Humby, HCC’s cabinet member for economy, transport and environment, admitted modelling showed junctions were already “near to or are at capacity” and would come under greater pressure from wider traffic growth even without 1,500 new homes.

Fawley power station
Dibden roundabout on the A326 (Photo: Google)

He said: “The junction improvements will help to reduce congestion and delay to below current levels. A programme for the junction improvement works is being refined.

“Improvements will be delivered in a phased approach to minimise impact on the public with work expected to start in early summer 2020.”

Junction upgrades:

  1. Blackfield Road / Church Lane / B3053: Signalisation of junction
  2. Long Lane / A326 (Holbury roundabout): Widening of approaches and exit lanes
  3. A326 / Holbury Drove: New southbound right-turn painted island
  4. A326 / Southbourne Avenue: New southbound right-turn painted island
  5. Hardley roundabout: Widening of approaches and exit lanes
  6. Dibden Purlieu roundabout: Widening of approaches and exit lanes
  7. Applemore roundabout (Sizer Way): Widening of approaches and exit lanes
  8. Junction 8 Dibden roundabout: Widening of approaches and exit lanes
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