Leigh Park

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Coordinates: 50°52′08″N 0°59′13″W / 50.869°N 0.987°W / 50.869; -0.987

Leigh Park
Leigh Park is located in Hampshire
Leigh Park
Leigh Park
 Leigh Park shown within Hampshire
Population Approx 27,500
OS grid reference SU712082
District Havant
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Havant
Postcode district PO9
Dialling code (023)
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Havant
List of places
UK
England
Hampshire

Leigh Park is a large suburb (population 27,500) of Havant, in Hampshire, England. It has four electoral wards: Battins, Bondfields, Barncroft and Warren Park (generally referred to as 'The Warren').

Staunton Country Park lies on the northern edge of Leigh Park, also within the Havant boundary.

History[edit]

While known to many as a post-war housing estate, Leigh Park has existed since much earlier. As early as 1750 mention was made of a farm on the site in a will of that year and local historians consider it likely that a farm existed there around 100 years earlier.[1]

Leigh Park Estate may have been formed with the building of Leigh House by the then owner Samuel Harrison some time before 1791. The stables, walled garden and coach house of this somewhat grand residence still survive today as part of Staunton Country Park. The estate emcompassed decorative planting, lakes and follies[2] and was described as “ one of the most beautiful spots in the county” in 1826.[3]

Leigh Park was re-developed as an overspill suburb for those made homeless in Portsmouth by bomb damage which occurred during World War II. The land for the estate was purchased by Portsmouth City Council from the Fitzwygram family in 1944; work started on building in 1947 and the first residents moved in during 1949. The first shops opened in 1952 (in Stone Square) and Park Parade, Greywell Shopping Centre which is Greywell Road (usually referred to as just Park Parade), the main shopping area in Leigh Park, opened in 1955.

The majority of homes in Leigh Park were built by Portsmouth City Council, not Havant Borough Council, despite it being located within Havant's district boundary. Most Leigh Park tenants living in Council housing pay rent to Portsmouth City Council and Hermitage Housing, not to Havant Borough Council; nevertheless, residents still pay council tax to Havant as the provider of local services.

Construction of the estate was not fully completed until the early 1970s, although most of the houses in the area were built by 1960.

Now Hermitage Housing builds most new housing in Leigh Park. Barratt Homes is currently building on the former Procter & Gamble site in the centre of Leigh Park. Leigh Park was one of the largest council estates in Europe, although many of the properties are now privately owned.

In 2004, Leigh Park made the news when a gang stole more than £100,000 from the Nationwide Building Society[4] and a man sleeping on a bench was set on fire, in a separate incident.[5]

Transport[edit]

The main shopping precinct is served by Stagecoach Bus Routes 20, 21, 23, 37 and 39, which provide links with central Havant (with some services continuing to Portsmouth and the main area hospital). Local operator Emsworth & District Bus Route 27 which runs through the estate on a service between Rowlands Castle, Havant and Southbourne and First Group Bus routes 63 and 145.

Havant railway station is the nearest major train station, smaller stations Bedhampton and Rowlands Castle are near parts of Leigh Park. The A3(M) motorway and A27 Havant bypass are the areas' major links to the rest of the country,

Politics[edit]

The suburb is within the Borough of Havant and includes the Battins, Bondfields, Barncroft and Warren Park wards.

Leigh Park is served by the Havant MP David Willetts, a Conservative.

Education[edit]

Leigh Park contains several primary schools: Front Lawn, Trosnant, Riders, Sharps Copse, Park House, Warren Park, Barncroft School and St Albans C of E.

Leigh Park is currently served by three secondary schools: Havant Academy (known as Wakefords Secondary School when it opened in 1970[6] and latterly Staunton Community Sports College until 2009), Park Community School (known previously as Broomfield Secondary School, when it opened in 1958,[7] and Broomfield Comprehensive School until 1988) and Prospect School, built in 2008, an education centre for children with learning and social disabilities.

The West Leigh area was also served by Oak Park Secondary School on Leigh Road (close to the junction with Crosland Drive - now demolished), from its opening in 1957 to its closure in the late 1970's.[8] Pupils from that area then attended Warblington Comprehensive School situated some distance from the area on Southleigh Road, Denvilles.

Between 1958 and 1960 Havant Grammar School had shared the Broomfield Secondary School site on Middle Park Way until it moved to its own, new buildings on the corner of Barncroft Way and New Road.[9] The title Havant Grammar School disappeared with the arrival of the comprehensive school system and it became Havant College a sixth-form college in 1974.

Sport[edit]

The suburb's main non-league football side is Havant & Waterlooville who currently play in the Conference South, two divisions below the Football League. The team's main claim to fame is reaching the FA Cup fourth round in the 2007-08 season when they twice took the lead against Liverpool at Anfield before finally losing 5-2.

Havant Hockey Club play at Havant College on Barncroft Way (just on the outskirts of Leigh Park). The team were National and European Champions in the 1990s. The street High Lawn Way just beyond the Crown Bingo Hall also offshoots onto a bowls club, two tennis courts and a common playing fields and children's play area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staunton Records
  2. ^ Parks & Gardens UK
  3. ^ Scott, Richard (1826) A Topographical and Historical Account of Hayling Island, Hants. Havant: I. Skelton (anonymous) (Reissued by Frank Westwood, Petersfield, Hants, 1974 ISBN 0-904172-01-5
  4. ^ BBC News: Masked robber trio steal £100,000
  5. ^ "Boy, 17, charged over burning man". BBC News Online. 2004-06-14. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  6. ^ Havant Borough Council Timeline 2012
  7. ^ A Brief History of Havant, Hampshire
  8. ^ Havant Borough Council Timeline 2012
  9. ^ A Brief History of Havant, Hampshire