Protecting Hayling's Assets

Havant Borough Residents’ Alliance were shocked at the poor chairing of the Council's Development Management Committee meeting on 29th June. This Committee’s function is to decide on Planning Applications. The Alliance felt that the concerns of those presenting deputations were not adequately debated and that the return to a permanent chairperson and more training for the Committee members is essential.

Hayling’s Infrastructure Review has now had 4 meetings with the next scheduled in July. Hampshire County Council’s study of the A3023 requires more time. We are also looking forward to hearing clarification of the Emergency Plan for Hayling.

Hayling’s vital semi-rural atmosphere is still under threat, its unique features unprotected. These effortlessly boost Havant’s tourist revenue and local produce sold in independent shops and restaurants is hugely valued. Online food shopping and existing frequent daytime buses reduce private car use both around the Island and to Havant’s huge retail shops. Building a cut price supermarket that replaces a prominent leafy paddock with a permanent commercial site, actually encourages car use at a key Island junction. If people are physically unable to get to any of the Island’s existing 4 supermarkets, let alone countless other smaller household shops, how can they get to Lidl’s on a busy road about a mile from other shops? A high volume retail turnover to justify 129 car spaces will also necessitate high volume delivery through the A3023.

Havant tourism mentions Hayling’s Billy Trail, an essential part of the Shipwright’s Way that, while our Ferry is running, links travellers, visitors and commuters to Portsmouth. Ironically the Trail’s southern part connecting with the original railway terminus, converted into the popular HIADS, Theater & Cinema venue, is not protected from flooding. Any infrastructure consideration is constantly challenged by A3023’s inherent weaknesses, yet the Billy Trail’s value as an alternative for non motorized traffic is not properly managed.

Surprisingly, south Hampshire shares only 3 County Council Rangers for 23 countryside sites. They need active public support. Everyone can respect the Countryside Code summarized as ‘leave no trace’. Full details of what we can enjoy, inputting Hayling Island in the search bar, is on http://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryside. Volunteers, trained, provided with all necessary equipment, working under Rangers’ guidance, help protect and preserve Hayling’s natural assets at Thursday work parties that follow seasonal requirements; under 18s require parental consent/supervision. Check Facebook.com/SouthernCountrysideSites or phone HCC 02380-402534.

Hayling needs volunteer tree wardens. We know that trees increase our property values and provide our valuable shade, therapy, wildlife shelter, help prevent flooding and pollution. Felling an 80 year old tree delivers a mere 25% of its value (Institute of Chartered Foresters:Optimum Rotation Length for Urban Trees). George Fulcher is Hayling’s lead Tree Warden but to enquire about becoming a Warden please contact Peter Wallbank on 02392 267587 or pjwbk@btinternet.com. Remember: like our green spaces, once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are a valuable tool for the public to check on and preserve urban and woodland trees and we already have some on Hayling: see Havant’s Local Authority Planning Department. Full details via the Royal Horticultural Society online or the Woodland Trust 0330 333 3300.

Earlier this year a local Councillor assured me that the Council is behind Islanders’ request for more allotments; Government policy is for councils to provide them but there is no ‘due by’ date. A combined Hayling house building and allotment application was refused 2016. Despite no lack of suitable land for allotments on Hayling, many years’ requests are effectively denied.

Diary Date: Free Public Meeting with Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership speakers’ talk on Flood Defences around Hayling Island. Thursday October 19th 7:30 pm Hayling College, entrance Pepper Close.

Contact HIRA: hello@haylingislandresidentsassociation.co.uk or 4 drop boxes at the Library; HI Community Centre, West Town; Morris Dibben, Mengham; The Terracotta Pot and Gift Shop, Eastoke.

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