Editor's Note: This is the first of Residents' Group's Responses
“SAVE OUR ISLAND” GROUP COMMENTS ON THE 2018 LOCAL PLAN
We, the members of the Save Our Island group (SOI), have for the past 18 months been working with Havant Borough Council (HBC) and Hampshire County Council (HCC) through the Hayling Island Infrastructure Advisory Committee in order to establish and implement a sustainable infrastructure in the areas of health, environment, education, essential services, security, flood protection and road networks.
The January version of the Local Plan presents a housing allocation which at face value looks like a decrease from 11,500 to 9,500, but the baseline has moved from 2016 to 2018 so the Plan is actually an increase over the original plan for the period 2016-2036. The Hayling Island Plan, for example, has risen from 550 to 999. The latest version of the Plan is almost totally focused on housebuilding. The limited number of community projects included will only come to fruition on the back of revenues made available by developers to HBC. Therefore the plan is devoid of major infrastructure projects such as:
Cultural and entertainment centres
Open town centre meeting places to see and be seen in, including worthy architecture
Rapid transport networks
Railway and secondary road improvement and expansion
MAJOR HAYLING ISLAND OUTSTANDING ISSUES
1. The housing proposal calls for a total of 999 housing units from 2016 to 2036. This number should be seen as an absolute minimum and takes little account of windfall development which has and will continue to be the major growth category on the Island. This could continue unabated. There is no mechanism to stop or manage any developer coming forward with a new housing development proposal for sites such as:
The list is almost endless and could easily result in proposals for another 2,000-3,000 units during the planning period.
The seashore on Hayling Island is the major seaside leisure resource for all of the Borough residents. This fact is recognised by HBC and they plan to improve the tourist facilities and attractions along the beach (which, incidentally, will add traffic to the A3023) but sadly, because of the lack of funding or inventiveness, HBC are planning housing development on four seafront sites to fund the limited tourist facilities proposed. This is an easy but in our view misguided decision based primarily on the fact that HBC own most of the beachfront land – except the funfair. The result being that the limited land area for leisure activities for a growing population is going to reduce in size.
The only mechanism to control and manage housing development is to establish, as part of the Infrastructure Plan, a detailed plan for the A3023 which recognises the risks, capacity and growth potential against which all development projects must be evaluated (see 2. below.)
2. The A3023 is the single access to the Island and has changed little in one hundred years. We must recognise that the A3023 is a critical resource, and if the traffic volumes are allowed to creep towards or exceed its capacity – there are no economic corrective actions possible to restore the Island to normality. The road is also routed through two serious Category 3 flood risk zones both on the mainland and the Island.
HBC and HCC Roads’ Authorities have been evaluating the A3023 for over a year now – we still await any findings, plans or conclusions on the status and future of this critical route. All of the development projects are dependent on an acceptable and sustainable road infrastructure.
We will maintain pressure to ensure that HBC provides the study results and proposals for the future of our road network (including the A27 roundabout at Havant) which of course must determine the levels and control processes to manage all development proposals for the future.
3. A significant area of Hayling Island lies at or below sea level, and is forecasted to be at significant risk of flooding as a result of climate change. The area at risk includes the A3023. The 100 year projections leave little of the Island outside the high risk area. There are nine flood prevention projects recognised for Hayling Island/Langstone – all of these projects require Central Government funding, and each will be evaluated, when presented, against all other national projects at that time. The primary evaluation criterion is the value of the assets being protected. It is very unlikely that Hayling Island will rise to the top of this priority list anytime in the foreseeable future. We find it difficult to reconcile the aggressive blanket-building proposals for an area of high vulnerability where the sustainability of its infrastructure into the future is not certain.
In addition to the nine flood defence projects, there are four projects concerning the Hayling Island coast which are not understood by us. They can be found in Appendix 4 of the Local Plan (pages 354 and 355.) Three of these are intended to flood areas of the Island coast as new wetlands. We are told that they are in compensation for harbour encroachment by development elsewhere in the Solent area. We are also told that the projects have been approved, but no certification or project plans have been made available or published. The four projects are currently unfunded, with a projected cost of £8.1 million. These proposals seem to have been approved without any Island representation.
In conclusion, it is clear that additional/appropriate housing growth is possible and desirable within a managed and controlled environment. HBC still have to produce a plan together with a sustainable infrastructure for Hayling Island which is:
Concise and understandable
Addresses all of the opportunities and risks
Presents a road map for the future of the community
Save Our Island Group