At yet another of our well attended Public Meetings last night, where over 200 Hayling residents put probing questions to our Guest Speaker Alan Mak MP, the audience heard how gravely all tiers of our Government and their Agencies underestimate Hayling's unique geographical situation. Islanders at the meeting were clearly shocked that National Policy - details of this given on the next Post - itself has put practically impossible housing demands on our own Havant BC which is literally running out of space just to comply with new, 2012, Government requirements. Alan Mak was asked if his Havant wide constituents - whose Residents' Associations are now in Alliance to defend dwindling wildlife corridors and green 'gaps' - could count on him in the same way that 3 other, Conservative, MPs are openly supporting Eastleigh's action 'Against Destructive Development' and who are calling on their Council to be true to their original Plan and stop overdevelopment, urban sprawl with no countryside gaps for wildlife and qualify of social life. Alan Mak wanted time to study Eastleigh's case before he committed himself.
Repeatedly our audience gave chapter and verse on how Hayling is truly unique in its island situation with only 1 road, and that is an S2, of the lowest permitted class, to the mainland: it services the 17,000 plus residents not to mention our thousands of visitors annually and is literally our lifeline to all emergency services particularly A & E Hospitals. Flooding - unsurprisingly for such a low lying island - are routine in parts of Hayling so assurances that our engineering methods will counteract this natural phenomenon failed to impress the long term knowledgeable and experienced residents. Ultimately it is Hayling's unique features of every changing coastline, low lying properties that contribute so much to the south coast region's tourist, especially Watersports, economy, and at the same time make it so unsuitable for building development. Arguments of the huge and increasing importance of locally produced food for local people seemed to fall on deaf ears. England's ever increasing population, it seems, must be accommodated on Grade 1 and 2 irreplaceable Agricultural land. Is anyone in Government aware that, over centuries, minerals deplete in farmland, so that we must protect precious farmland from developers' short term speculations?
When finally pressed at the very end of the meeting, Alan Mak agreed to take back to our elected Government the apparent news that Hayling Island is truly unique and must be treated as such. We will all be monitoring his progress.