Tournerbury Woods: Wedding venue's new plans for retrospective planning permission for site

An aerial view of the Tournerbury estate in Hayling Island (Photo: Contributed)
An aerial view of the Tournerbury estate in Hayling Island (Photo: Contributed)

Residents in the Hayling Island and Havant area have expressed concerns over newly submitted plans to Havant Borough Council by Tournerbury Woods Estate which hopes to retroactively obtain planning permission for its popular wedding venue.

The venue has attracted criticism for hosting weddings without formal planning permission which led to a council-issued enforcement notice in 2020. Complaints from residents also point to potential ecological harm to the woods and the troublesome use of an access road through Tournerbury Farm.

This new application is a resubmission of plans previously deferred by the council in December last year with the only notable change being an adjusted access route proposal, involving surfacing and widening of the path through the neighbouring farm. The woodland holds multiple designations, including an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protected Area, and a Special Area of Conservation.

A letter opposing the plans highlights that the ‘new track is required for a venue without planning permission, that is subject to an Enforcement Order by Havant Borough Council and for which the developer has no legal right of access to the adjoining road’.

‘The key omission from this new application is that there are no engineering drawings or specifications for the road that needs to be constructed.’

Another comment added that allowing commercial development within protected areas ‘creates a precedent for further development that everyone on Hayling Island should be concerned about’.

The application has garnered public attention, with 43 comments received, 30 of which are in favour of the proposed plans.

A supportive comment underscores the importance of such venues for the local economy: ‘Hayling Island needs this. If we want to have a genuinely engaging, successful and hospitable place to live we need to have businesses that offer residents and non-residents the opportunity to come together whether it is for weddings or charity functions or other events.

‘It is shamefully sad that a very small group seem hell-bent on trying to destroy something that is so good on so many levels.’