Above: A High Court hearing concluded that Fareham Borough Council acted unlawfully in denying access to the Solent Airport site

An ongoing quest for planning permission to build nine mixed-used hangars ‘for aviation-related businesses’ at Solent airport has moved one step closer to becoming a reality.

Spearheaded by Hangar Homes Ltd, the latest application for planning permission was submitted in March 2023 before being refused by Fareham Borough Council (FBC). Although a Planning Appeal was then filed within the allowable six-month period, some doubt remained as to whether the council had acted unlawfully in denying access to the site ‘for a badger survey that was requested by the planning officer’.

A Judicial Review (held in the High Court) has now confirmed what Hangar Homes describe as ‘obvious’: that Fareham Borough Council have in fact acted unlawfully. ‘This completely avoidable action by FBC has wasted 18 months and inordinate amounts of tax-payers’ money, defending an untenable position in law,’ elaborated Hangar Homes.

Remaining convinced that it ‘is likely no badger setts will be found on [the site],’ the company speculate that the badger survey is indicative of a wider objection to the proposed development. ‘It is clear that FBC, as both landowner and planning authority, used the badger survey to make sure that planning consent would be refused,’ venture Hangar Homes.

Although the company believe their nine hangars (each requiring access to an active runway) will help safeguard the airport and raise vital capital for the airport operator, an alternative use – described by Solent Airport as the ‘Enterprise Zone’ – would see the site designated for Swordfish Business Park. This would include non-aviation business and has been described as a ‘blight’ on local houses by Hangar Homes.

Planning consent for the nine mixed-use hangars could now be reversed by the Planning Inspector on appeal.