The ‘Reports’ topic includes copies of agreed village plans that have now been superseded, but show a progression of ideas and issues. They comprise the ‘Village Design Statement’ of 2000, the ‘Parish Plan’ of 2008, the accompanying Supporting Data from the village survey and the Local Landscape Character Assessment 2012. Rowlands Castle was designated as a Conservation Area in December 1976.
They were sponsored by the Rowlands Castle Parish Council, drafted by groups of volunteers, and submitted, approved or adopted by the Parish Council before submission to the East Hampshire District Council. For a time, they provided ‘supplementary planning guidance’ but then became outdated. These plans are not statutory, therefore not enforceable.
Currently, following passage of national legislation at the time of writing, the Parish Council has commissioned a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to draft a Neighbourhood Plan for the civil parish. The plan must accord with the Local Plan approved by EHDC. The Plan, when subject to a planning inspectors report and approved by a ballot of residents, will become legally enforceable.
Projects includes activities of local significance, either completed or still under way, including the local ‘Hampshire Villages Initiative’ of the County Council, as announced by some village ‘gateway signs. The project made improvements to The Green, itself a designated Conservation Area – new pathways, lighting, plateaux, benches and waste bins.
Rowlands Castle Oil Well
Another Project still in operation, is the Rowlands Castle oil well, drilled in woodlands just north of the Golf Course. It is one of a series of wells drilled during the 1990s in Rowlands Castle, Horndean and Clanfield area. Two wells were unproductive and capped off, and three were deemed productive –with two others just outside the parish at Horndean Pyle Farm and behind the Keydell Nurseries – by the motorway. They were all subject to re-drilling by deviated boring.
South Leigh Forest Landfill Site
A third project nearing completion is the restoration of the large South Leigh Forest Landfill site. It lays along the southern boundary of the Parish. Once a large quarry for extraction of gravels from a long gravel train which extends across to Chichester. Once the gravels were worked out the site was proposed for landfill of inert builders’ waste. This was done and already completed at the adjacent A J Bull quarry. In the event, when it was found that the quarry was also underlain by a strata of clays, it was decided to remove and export some of the clay and use the rest to bund pockets for deposition of potentially toxic domestic waste. The volume of the site was also extended by ‘land-raising’ to allow for greater volumes of waste. The final site also generated electricity from the methane gas emanating from decomposition of the rubbish. Finally, plans for its restoration were agreed, to follow capping-off, and for tree planting to achieve environmental regeneration.
Havant Thicket Reservoir
The Havant Thicket Reservoir site has been reserved in local development plans for many decades. The current utility – Portsmouth Water Company – supplies fresh water to the Portsmouth area, and has its offices in Havant adjacent to the Bedhampton Springs, a large series of natural springs which come to the surface in a restricted locality. Adjacent areas are supplied by Southern Water Company which also acts as the waste disposal authority with large works and pumping stations at Budds Farm, Havant and Eastney.
The Portsmouth Water Company reservoir proposal is for a reservoir on a clayey area in Havant Thicket which is, owned and has been designated for this use for many years. It currently forms part of the Staunton Country Park managed by Hampshire County Council. The concept underpinning the reservoir is to capture excess winter flows from the Bedhampton Springs and pump them into the artificial reservoir for use in summer when rainfall and water flows are lower. The reservoir will also offer environmental benefits, is included in ‘greenspace’ plans, and has been designed with this in mind. The company website provides a simulation of a helicopter flight around the proposed lake.