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Application for combat games in Eversley draws a blank

Hart District Council has rejected plans submitted by one of the directors of Gunman Airsoft on the grounds that there was ‘insufficient and imprecise’ information

The woodland has been used for a variety of combat games

Permission to carry on using land at Warren Heath in Eversley for combat games has been refused.

Hart District Council has rejected plans submitted by one of the directors of Gunman Airsoft, Joshua Smith, on the grounds that there was ‘insufficient and imprecise’ information.

Mr Smith, 41 from Peterborough, has been running adventure activities such as laser war games and re-enactments on the site since 2011 and wanted to continue doing so.

But Hart’s planning department declined permission due to a lack of information that showed that the land identified has been continuously used for combat games for a period of 10 years.

The report said: “The applicant’s evidence is not precise enough to establish on which days in a particular year, a business or particular group were operating on a specific site.”

In addition, parts of the identified site were unavailable for use due to mineral extraction and other land ownership over the 10 years.

Third party evidence suggested there were at least six month gaps in usage between 2008, 2009 and 2010 where no activity took place.

The frequency of the games or number of days per year was ‘inconsistent’ according to the council’s planning department.

The plans attracted some objection from members of the public including Eversley Parish Council which believed Mr Smith’s application was ‘false and misleading’ and claimed that there was no planning history for the site. Mr Smith said the site was originally used in November 1990 by the Wacky Wargames Company and had been used by a number of operators over the years, including Skirmish Paintball and Ambush Adventures.

“All I want to do is legitimise a business that has been there since 1990,” he said.

Since Gunman Airsoft took over the site, Mr Smith said it had been operating every weekend and he visited the woodlands two or three times a week.

During the last three years, Mr Smith has re-built and repaired old structures and said he had an ongoing commitment to get rid of the hundreds of tyres strewn all over the site.

His plans cover two sites, land joining Arletts Cottage off Welsh Drive and land joining Eversley Cottage in Brickhouse Hill. The woodland is also used by walkers, joggers and horse riders.

Mr Smith said he was not concerned about the refusal as he had made a mistake in the drawings of his application.

He said: “I think I made a mistake in the drawing of the map. Where the site is, is very complicated.

“I think I overlapped in an area that was used for mineral extraction.

“The refusal is by no means a final line.

“I will speak to Hart District Council and re-do my application and make sure the map is drawn carefully.

“It’s a shame as it would have been sorted by now.”

Mr Smith said he was not looking to appeal against the decision but instead re-submit an application soon.

 

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