Is no-one listening?
There is deepening cynicism amongst residents involved with both local Infrastructure and proposed development ‘Consultations’ run by Havant Borough Council and, effectively, overseen by Councillors. November’s Sinah Lane, packed, Development Consultation Forum demonstrated local residents’ opposition to Barratt’s proposal as 3 speakers’ arguments against it were strongly applauded. Despite Barratt’s pre-planning discussions with Council Planners and their own detailed surveys, their representatives expressed too much surprise at the well-founded criticisms made. We were left with the impression that our serious concerns were neither understood nor valued. We were also informed that Hayling’s single access A3023 is no different than a peninsula’s: our tidal separation let alone the vulnerable, utilities bearing, 2 lane bridge, clearly has no relevance to Barratt Developers. All 3 presentations are on www.haylingresidentsassociation.co.uk under Latest News.
Islanders should be aware that, following permission for Oysters’ Development, Barratts have failed to uphold the binding agreement with Havant Borough Council to maintain the fencing boundary with the Billy Trail, to prevent dogs from entering field H34C in which UE18 is located, and worrying the protected migratory birds. The much trumpeted ‘mitigation’ policies required by Government’s own stated national policies – and faithfully repeated in the Council’s own rationale for planning sites – are in tatters if the Sinah field is developed. The field in which the Sinah development is proposed was formally agreed to be used for crop rotation for foraging and roosting of Brent Geese, precisely to compensate and ‘mitigate’ for the Oysters’ disturbance and impact on our wildlife.
Havant’s percentage of protected land eg Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Site of Special Scientific interest, following the revised 2017 formula for assessing housing need, is a mere 9%; Chichester’s is 74%, East Hants. 58% and Winchester’s 41%. Despite Councils’ requirements, under this blanket theory, to determine their own requirements, Havant B.C.’s leadership wholly accepts this assessment; hence local residents themselves have to battle every single Developer’s application throughout the county, with Government Inspectors enforcing ‘presumption in favour of development’.
The Government refers to the ‘broken’ housing market. Alarmingly Government does not address its London-centric policies: long-standing unbridled immigration and empty London properties bought for ‘investment’ that drive housing and rental prices up and ordinary residents out. Neither have politicians required the hundreds of thousands approved housing developments to be built within months rather than years, so that developers can wait until 3 years before even starting to build.
To describe justifiably concerned residents as ‘nimby’ neatly side-steps proper concerns: loss of wildlife habitat, agricultural land and traffic congestion preventing real economic progress to name but a few. Havant’s own contradictory policies and plans mirror the Government’s. We are getting the wrong homes in the wrong places. Developments are suffocating free movement, making it harder not only for walking, cycling but for commuters to make ever longer journeys to work. Working from home is always for the few.
Tragically politicians rarely suffer personal catastrophe as a result of their decisions but skilfully appeal to a ‘quick-fix’. Hayling’s young cannot afford private rents nor the new homes; many buying Hayling’s new homes will continue to work out of the Borough yet the road infrastructure struggles to cope with current traffic. Meanwhile the excellent Island minibus proposal received no encouragement by Councillors and, despite our excellent agricultural land, no more allotments. Is no-one listening?
Season’s Greetings from your HIRA Committee. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or drop boxes: Hayling Community Centre, West Town; Library, Elm Grove; Morris Dibben, Mengham; Terracotta Pot & Gift Shop, Eastoke.