VOTE: Developer may walk from high-profile site six

A developer could walk away from the high- profile site six housing scheme in North Bersted.

Berkeley Homes is prepared to sell the 434-home development to another firm or mothball the site.

The possible moves were revealed during a frank and honest presentation by the company’s land and development director, Andrew McPhillips, to Bersted Parish Council on Tuesday.

The council has objected to Berkeley’s plans to add a further 106 homes by swopping more smaller homes for larger properties on the already approved scheme, which is some two thirds of the total of 650 homes on the site.

The protests are based on the drainage problems around the site and highways and transport concerns.

Mr McPhillips said the parish council’s continued objection would leave the company unwilling to carry on building just the currently approved homes.

The housing market had changed dramatically since the estate was designed. The four and five bed houses proposed were now not wanted.

“The homes were devised four years ago,” he said, “because we thought they would sell.

“But that is no longer the case. We will either sell the site because we are not happy with it or we will stall it for a number of years.”

Mr McPhillips pledged Berkeley would do as much as possible with the parish council and other bodies, such as Southern Water, to solve the drainage problems which have made headlines over the years.

Time, manpower and money would be put towards the work.

But Mr McPhillips said he understood residents’ and councillors’ concerns about the big development on their doorstep.

“There was always going to be confrontation. That has happened and it is history. I can understand your point of view but I want to work with you. I would be very foolish not to want to,” he said.

Cllr Martin Lury said: “This area has faced a 118 per cent increase in the amount of housing.

“We were initially told 350 homes would go there and then it went up to 650.

“You are now asking for an extra 106 homes. A survey showed 95 per cent of residents were against the development.

“Given what you have said about the problems in the area you can see why residents are worried about rain coming down off the development.”

Parish council chairman Brian Knight said: “We will welcome the chance to talk to Berkeley Homes.”

Chris Mead, of Berkeley’s engineer WSP Atkins, gave a detailed talk about the drainage and sewage systems around the site six area.

He highlighted the problems which existed before work started and measures Berkeley would take to ensure they were not worsened.

This included a network of pipes and gullies to ensure water from the flowed into a pond where it would be held to avoid flooding the ditch.