Hayling Joins Forces in Battle for Our Green Spaces
No fewer than 10 Residents’ and Stakeholders’ groups, representing thousands of Havant wide residents have joined forces and formed Havant Borough Residents Alliance (HBRA). We have requested an urgent meeting with the key Councillors and Planning Officers before the important October 26th Cabinet meeting, concerning the new Housing Plan 2036. It should be mentioned that Waterlooville RA has also given their backing to this move. There is real frustration by all these groups, some of whose increase in membership since the August Plan publication, directly reflects residents’ anger and more localised groups springing up around areas where the local impact will be most keenly felt.
Specifically our Havant wide Alliance has made clear that there has been undue haste in putting forward this new Plan, but we recognize the pressure being put on the Council planners. Therefore we are bringing to the Council’s attention the fact that Havant has not provided its own Objective Assessment Needs (OAN) as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This is resulting in the ‘indecent haste’ and poor public consultation. At no point does the NPPF state that local authorities must use National Statistics for their housing needs, instead some local authorities start with these but invest in their own reviews and evidence to modify the numbers.
Let’s look at what our Planning Officers are required to consider:
The May 2016 House of Commons Report on Planning for Housing provides a background for the Government’s Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill 2016-17; the Report specifically states that we must protect “those areas that we value most including the Green Belt”. To clarify, separately the NPPF Section 9 (can be found online) states “Green Belt serves five purposes:
to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.”
While Havant BC apparently has no specified Green Belt, surely the above covers much of Hayling’s and Havant’s existing green spaces which our Alliance is fighting to protect to preserve this valuable and irreplaceable asset both for visitors and for residents? How can, for example, Hayling’s ‘residual’ Grade 1 and 2 farmland not be considered as ‘Green Belt’ as per the Report but be treated as ‘derelict and urban land’ given that it is included for development in the Housing Plan? This defies common sense in applying the principles of Government recommendations.
The House of Commons Report further confirms the Government aim is to “Deliver the homes and infrastructure that this country needs.” As HIRA’s detailed response to the new Housing Plan 2036 states, after Hayling’s Goldring Development approval, Havant BC promised it would make detailed study of Hayling’s – and therefore can we assume Havant’s? – infrastructure needs, including inevitably our over used single access A3023 onto the Island. There has been no such study.
The Report continues “The NPPF is clear that local planning authorities should, through their Local Plans, meet OANs unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits…”. We, and others, have made clear since the 1985 Inspector’s Report that the stretch of road and single lane bridge from the A27 to our Sea Front are at capacity. Hayling’s usefulness to our region’s Tourist economy will be blighted if residents, tourists, local businesses alike give up the battle to join the queues on and off the Island over a busy spring and summer season. Even worse for Hayling’s disproportionately high elderly and chronically ill groups, any incident that closes the bridge or simply reduces traffic flow, will prevent vital life saving access to A&E provision. We have not even touched on quality of life for the majority.
HIRA’s Public Meeting provides opportunities for questions and discussions following an Address by Alan Mak MP and a brief AGM on Friday October 14th 7:30 pm HI Community Centre. Technical questions, on the proposed Housing Plan issues only, may be answered by an Officer present and our Councillors have all been invited. Please show your concerns by coming to this meeting and expressing your views.
Contact us using Library, Morris Dibben, Terracotta Pot Shop, HI Community Centre drop boxes for sealed envelope communications or on the website given above.