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Anger over Draft Local Plan

Deadline Looms for Housing Decision November 16th

October’s Public Meeting - funded entirely by HIRA members’ annual subscriptions – that gave Hayling residents the chance to hear and question Alan Mak MP and Andrew Biltcliffe Head of Planning, brought out over 200 residents. Whilst we were very glad that so many people were taking advantage of an opportunity to publicly question our elected representative and tax-payer funded Council representative on typically local matters, the anger expressed by so many in the audience certainly supported the need for such a Meeting. The clear focus was the impact of the July published Draft Local Housing Plan Statement that will take us to 2036.

Before Alan Mak MP spoke, HIRA’s Chair addressed some of the key issues relating to Hayling’s particularly acute problems. In particular, medical provision that we know is already working at capacity but our South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group does not realize our hard working GPs will be ‘challenged’ by the 550 new households that could be agreed this month and submitted for full Council approval in December. Frequent flooding, cited by residents in the north and south of the Island over the past year, was dismissed by Mr. Biltcliffe. Worries over Southern Water’s already poor record in Langstone discharges were similarly set aside by Alan Mak MP claiming that in his discussions with the company, those problems were being addressed. Members of the audience emphatically pointed out that their own personal experiences proved that what was said by a Management is not always what is actually the case. They were not reassured.

The major issue highlighted was the A3023 – an S2 of the ‘lowest permitted class’ – that has been carrying over two and a half times its intended traffic even since a 1985 official report, and we understand that, whilst it regularly takes 28,000 vehicles daily, August’s 30,000 caused gridlock. This is Hayling’s lifeline, the sole means not only of A&E access but for working commuters too. Mr. Biltcliffe was repeatedly pressed on the date he would find out from Hampshire County Council when the”red line point where enough is enough” would be reached, so that Havant BC could “see what development is sustainable”. He did not give one. HIRA’s Committee members are now asking HCC.

From our Committee representation on the Havant Borough wide Residents’ Association Alliance that appears to be the only local body fighting the deeply worrying new Housing Plan, we learned that our tax funded local Council is not standing up for its 2011 approved Local Plan because of McCarthy & Stone’s successful Purbrook Appeal whose Inspector decided that the 2011 figures didn’t accord with the non legal status of new Objectively Assessed Housing Needs provided by outside organizations. Havant BC has still not carried out its 2013 Goldring Inquiry promise of a thorough infrastructure survey of Hayling, nor its own research required by the Government produced National Policy Planning Framework 2012, which is now cited as the reason for a new Plan. All our detailed references to the local Council’s requirement to protect the natural environment, ensure cyclist, pedestrian safety, quality of life, sustainable development – surely to include road networks fit for purpose? – were dismissed both at the Alliance’s meeting with HBC Planning Officers October 19th, and at HIRA’s Public Meeting. The public need to know that the Government’s own document – for all its apparent quality of life phrases – stipulates presumption in favour of development. This is a national issue.

Recently, Anthony Walker and a HIRA Committee member gave a spirited and informed argument against more Elderly Apartments on the Hayling Billy Pub site; whilst Councillors’ opinions were split 3:3, the presiding Chair voted in favour of development.

For those who believe that we are getting Affordable Housing, think again. Not only did Havant BC Officers expressly state that they cannot now require developers to provide it and certainly not at the 30-40% that they did before, nor the 60-80% stated in Government documents, but the house prices already on the Oysters development may well require a 2 income family, adding to the existing traffic problems.

Alan Mak MP, we now know, will not support Hayling residents in particular and Havant’s Alliance in their stand against the Draft Local Housing Plan Statement. The Meeting did, after much audience pressure, elicit his agreement to “ask the Government to recognize Hayling Island as a unique cul de sac and stop development until prepared surveys have been done. Pause development.” Meanwhile local campaigning groups continue a hard fight.

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