The URC Hall was full to capacity at February’s free open meeting when Mark Stanton, Chairman of Friends of Chichester Harbour, Richard Austin the Environment Manager for Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Louise MacCallum, Langstone Harbour Board’s Environment Officer each presented excellent slide shows and video to explain all that these 2 Harbours have to offer those of us so fortunately living beside them. The audience had the rare opportunity to question and discuss relevant issues with our speakers, and soon appreciated the complexities of managing the competing interests that range from bird watching, seal spotting and watersports to commercial fishing and dredging. We learned that Hayling’s coasts are in the middle of these internationally important marine environments, so everyone needs to keep their distance when viewing any wildlife and also not land on the Langstone Islands, keep our dogs under control along local coasts in case of breeding or damage to flora, think before flushing (water is a precious commodity that must be treated so be careful before dumping any rubbish into drains), and buy local produce as much as possible to reduce the carbon footprint of food from afar.
We learned that twentieth century generous philanthropists established a Trust that ensures that much of Chichester Harbour’s natural wildlife habitat is preserved for future generations and not built on for profit. Anyone wishing to both support Chichester Harbour’s Conservancy work and enjoy fascinating local trips and talks can join the Friends for a mere £10 p.a. or £15 for two.
One person asked if the Solar boat could call in on the Hayling coast and a speaker offered to look into that possibility. We were told of the enormous help that is provided by often retired volunteers under excellent Ranger supervision in maintaining habitat, and some of our members wondered if perhaps this is something that we could do here on Hayling. Anyone who is interested in this aspect can contact HIRA on our details below; whilst we have no knowledge of such existing work parties, those of us who value Hayling’s unique heritage and have the time to give could begin to plan such community action.
On planning matters, we have been made aware of Hampshire County Council plans to sell Godbey House, 380 Sea Front, in the summer. In pre-planning discussions with Havant B.C. for principles of development, Hampshire C.C. officials have produced outline plans for a 4 storey block of flats on the site without having notified all the surrounding residential neighbours. Further information from firstname.lastname@example.org. It is most important that anyone wishing to express their views for or against this plan needs to write them clearly either by email or on paper to your Councillors at Havant Borough Council and Hampshire C.C. Please remember that individual letters/emails are always most effective.
Formal planning application Ref. APP/16/00060 by O’Dell’s for Station Road/West Lane proposes 18 flats plus shops in place of the existing 36-38 Station Road properties. Anyone can view or discover Havant B.C.’s Planning Applications online or by phoning or visiting the offices. It is essential that everyone takes the time to check such details and write in their own views.
We understand that we are still waiting for news of the new Ferry’s revival. It must not be forgotten that our future tourists and visitors still see that link on maps and information about the region; indeed people have been known to be found waiting even recently in expectation of a ferry. It is extremely disappointing that our combined Councils failed to properly anticipate this lack of service so as to manage a transition. As with many public services, it isn’t only about available funds but rather how they are used. Hayling’s Waste Recycling Facility deserves everyone’s email/letter writing to Hampshire’s County Council in order to spell out exactly what its absence would mean to its, at 2011 Census, 17,000 inhabitants (and possibly increasing), whose only access to the mainland is a 2 lane highway as far as the A27.
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