Who owns Penns Place?

The site is part owned by East Hants District Council (EHDC) Petersfield Town Council and Churchers College. Penns Place is inside the South Down National Park (SDNP), who is the Planning Authority for the area.

Penns Place includes the Taro Leisure Centre, EHDC’s headquarters, and sports facilities used by Petersfield Rugby Club, Petersfield Town Juniors Football Club, Petersfield Cricket Club and Churchers College.

EHDC’s move from Penns Place to new premises in the town opens new possibilities for the site.

East Hampshire District Council, Petersfield Town Council and the South Down National Park Authority are discussing the best future for this key area of Petersfield.

Who decides what happens to Penns Place?

East Hampshire District Council and Petersfield Town Council can only change the use of Penns Place to something else if the planning authority agrees. The planning authority for Petersfield is South Downs National Park (SDNP).

EHDC is leading on exploring with Petersfield Town Council, Churchers College and the sports clubs that use the site, as well as the SDNP Authority, the possibility of an exemplar Petersfield town sports hub, which will include a replacement Taro Sports Centre.

The site may be developed with potential to enabling housing development - where this may be needed to facilitate the delivery of the sports hub and to be supported by a robust business plan.

The delivery of a sports hub at Penns Place forms part of the aim envisioned in the Petersfield Neighbourhood Plan and the SDNP Authority Local Plan.

However, no proposals will be drawn up until the public have had the chance to have their say.

What happens next?

To change the use of Penns Place is a long process. It starts with EHDC letting the South Downs National Park know that the land is available for different uses (a short document called the ‘Land Availability Assessment’ or LAA). SDNP then visit all the sites that have been presented to it to decide if the land is contributes positively to the SDNP Local Plan.

East Hampshire District Council has submitted a Land Availability Assessment to the SDNP Authority and is awaiting consideration of that submission. If the response is positive, a consultation will be planned to explore public views on this important area of Petersfield. The timeline and method of consultation will be announced later in the year.

In the meantime, East Hampshire District Council will work closely with the stakeholders of Penns Place to find out the needs of the local sporting community and residents.

If you have any questions, please contact placemaking@easthants.gov.uk.