Local Plan Responses:3
Hayling Island Residents’ Association
Response to Havant Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan
February 15th 2018
HIRA understands Havant Borough Council’s need for a duly accepted Plan that complies with Government requirements thus preventing Developers’ Appeals. However, we consider that some elements should be re-considered. We are also concerned that, as with the recent Traffic Survey, not every household has been given sufficient information for effective consultation.
Consultation: HIRA does not feel that the Council advertised the Consultation repeatedly and widely enough; nor are there prominent Council notices throughout Hayling and in our Library that the Draft Local Plan can be viewed there. We are always happy to post – and have done so extensively on this occasion - on social media, our website, in the Islander, to our members on email and taken the trouble to put up posters in our Mengham Notice board as well as to all possible businesses and Community Halls, but the Council has far greater resources with which to advertise. We question whether all households are even aware of the public consultation open to them let alone can trawl through the online materials: many people refuse even to use the internet.
The Langstone bridge and the A3023’s inevitable junctions up to Manor Rd. roundabout continue to suffer serious traffic flow constrictions that can jeopardize not only domestic and commercial traffic but Hayling’s approximately 19,000 population’s Emergency traffic, both of which swell seasonally. HIRA’s detailed technical report on the A3023 was submitted with our response to the Council’s 2016 Consultation. In 2017, Hayling’s Infrastructure Advisory Group also received updated capacity reports for the A3023 from HIRA and Save Our Island members. Throughout this period, despite repeated requests, Hampshire County Council provided the Advisory Group with no data on the A3023 apart from the Bluetooth Survey. Of concern is that HCC published a statement that another, Hampshire highway, had reached ‘capacity’. At the time of writing, we await the results of Havant Borough Council’s Traffic Survey; however Hayling residents on the Hayling Infrastructure Advisory Group have heavily criticised the assumptions and questions in the Survey which was neither discussed nor agreed with the Advisory Group’s members before being put to the public. The Group is concerned that the Survey’s opportunity to accurately accumulate the data from the public, that would reveal the true demands already existing on the Island’s road infrastructure, will be missed.
NPPF Guiding Principle 4 “sustainable transport”: every item states the need for ‘green’ transport, giving people real choice, health objectives, reducing emissions and congestion, supporting and prioritising the safety and welfare of the road user – which must include cyclists and pedestrians -, creating safe and secure layouts minimising conflict between traffic and cyclists or pedestrians. Any cyclist using the A3023, or pedestrian crossing the A3023 cannot possibly feel that these Government statements are either being currently met or can be met by proposed intensive housing developments.
We believe that there are more appropriate sites than Hayling for housing north of Havant and closer to the M/A3 where they can readily access this arterial route without adding to the A27 congestion. Hayling’s dwindling green sites are irreplaceable both as public amenities and environmental habitats: how can green fields be ‘mitigated’ once built on?
The Sinah Lane housing proposal now results in bird scarers against well documented foraging wildfowl which must also suffer from the neighbouring new development’s neglect to ensure promised fencing to prevent dogs from disturbing wildlife. This was reported in 2017 to the Council as a breach of an agreement by that developer. We know that the SUDS proposed is unusually large and HIRA made detailed presentation in December 2017, copy available to the Council, about the risks to existing homes, wildlife and environment surrounding the SUDS. SUDS is a relatively new concept and their long term reliability, especially in low lying Hayling, has yet to be proven. Yet Goldring’s residents report having to close their windows in the summertime to avoid mosquitoes entering from the SUDS built for the development; surely this is a health hazard, particularly since the Council’s policy is not to spray its open water and indeed if it did so, it would damage the wildlife. SUDS potentially create a hazard on several levels.
Flooding in this and other fields, once they are covered in tarmac and buildings, may prove too much of a challenge on Hayling where pumping stations are essential to remove surface water and sewage. Our fears of electrical failure consequences were dismissed by a developer in December 2017 and again by a Councillor in the Infrastructure Advisory Group, but the Island’s pumping stations should be equipped with independent generators.
Parking in all new housing developments, with their narrower roads and restricted spaces, will inevitably result in overspills into neighbouring busy streets, whether banned or not. Yellow lines are seldom monitored and frequently ignored. How does the Council propose to ‘mitigate’ this potential nuisance?
Fathoms Reach home owners were sold their properties on the promise that the amenity land behind them would never be built on. Now several property owners have accepted a developer’s purchase offer so that their relatively modern homes in these narrow roads can be demolished to provide access for more house building. Continued destruction of such greenfield amenities destroys people’s well-being, their ability to relax and enjoy local beauty without having to drive for outdoor enjoyment, and it destroys the wildlife and their habitat. Where is the ‘mitigation’?
Since Hayling has still not seen Goldring’s 2013 CIL moneys, will Hayling’s proposed developments’ CIL moneys be ring-fenced for Hayling’s use?
We have been assured that our current General Practices will continue. Demographically we know that Hayling has an exceptionally high proportion of ageing and chronically ill people. At the time of writing the average is for 11 South Central Ambulance vehicles (excluding First Responders) responding to 999 and 111 calls crossing Langstone Bridge every 24 hours. This figure, which does not include thousands more annual vehicle movements by the SCAS passenger transport service, is likely to increase as retirees favour Hayling. Is it ‘sustainable’ in accordance with the Government’s NPPF Guiding Principles, that we simultaneously reduce Hayling’s health giving arable farmland, natural habitat and walking areas, whilst increasing housing density with attendant populations, who are expected to commute to work by car and likely using the bridge? Emergency vehicles cannot drive through highly congested roads and emergency care does not respect the commuter rush hour. Any increase in traffic volume on Hayling’s narrow, twisting roads would further endanger those most in need of urgent care. It should also be noted that officials producing traffic flow data who use Google maps, do not appreciate the blind corners and difficult narrow roads in North Hayling and West Lane because Google maps do not depict the heavy foliage, high hedges and overhanging trees, making it extremely difficult for emergency vehicles and slowing their journey times.
Hayling Island Seafront:
Sec.3.70 Since 2 car parks (the Nab and Eastoke Community Centre) are currently free, the Council cannot accurately know their useage: therefore there is a real risk that they will be designated as ‘under-used’. In fact Eastoke Community Centre’s car park is so full at times – even in the winter - that those using the Centre struggle to find another place to park, given nearby roads’ yellow lines. This is a real problem for anyone who cannot easily walk distances, especially at night.
Eastoke Corner Regeneration:
There is concern amongst local businesses that attempting to alter the current road layout may inadvertently damage their custom – the very permanent businesses that Hayling needs. It is essential that free parking alongside these shops remains. Customers are easily deterred from ‘off chance’ shopping, especially if they either have to pay or they have to walk a distance. Any seafront is exposed to wind and rain so to encourage year round custom, it must be easy and inexpensive to park and, given the south coast inclement off season weather, it is vital that impractical open spaces are avoided. Hayling’s existing green open spaces are much treasured, so paving over Eastoke’s small green and refreshing corner detracts from the atmosphere.
New homes to “maximise” the waterfront location:
It is vital for the Council to understand that Hayling’s unique uninterrupted beach front is a key attraction to the very visitors who bring in year round revenue. A petition to stop more beach huts from blocking views from existing car parks was successful because the Council realized this unique attribute. New waterfront homes block visitors’ views and access and could even be unoccupied so the owner is not even contributing to the local, often seasonal economy.
Flood Zones and SINC:
ESCP’s Coastal Management on Hayling requires endless dredging and stockpiling of shingle simply to replace the vast quantities that routine storms, especially wintertime, scour away. Along Hayling’s eastern coast, where there are already established homes, sea water rivers have formed beside modern domestic walls, breaching sea defences, and running along Southwood Road. East and west of the Inn on the Beach beach, walkers witness not only purpose built Beach Huts either destroyed or substantially re-located by the sea, but also all the shingle placed there only a few months beforehand, having disappeared. Since that beach’s groynes were moved back many years ago to create parking behind the Huts, and that parking area can also be partially flooded, how can holiday residences be constructed and maintained along West Beach in order to accommodate watersports visitors? Who exactly will end up paying for this vulnerable habitation? Moreover, since complaints have already been made to ESCP that its employees have trampled on SINC designated vegetation, how can more and increased human habitation possibly be kept off this low lying but potentially important plant life?
Toilet Blocks & Emergency Equipment:
Ensuring proper hygiene throughout the year is essential for any decent beach. Furthermore Hayling has yet to develop Community Resilience as required by Government and encouraged by Hampshire’s Community & Resilience Lead. To remove locations for emergency equipment storage is premature particularly as our remaining public service buildings are diminishing on the Island.
Our residents continue to feel that the Council does not appreciate why Hayling continues to attract the very visitors who provide the Borough with useful revenue. Whilst the current owners of Funland may be ready to sell, the Council needs to understand that families come from afar if only to visit the old fashioned funfair. Sec 7.96 itself states the importance of preserving local character such as we find throughout Hayling and the funfair is an example. Sec 7.97 is a contradiction in terms: our “traditional seaside destination” requires traditional children’s activities.
Whether or not Funland stays, the adjacent site would be ideal for Hayling’s own year round Aquadome, Pools, Learning and Exhibition Centre, to service our residents and visitors alike.
While we need to keep the amusement park, the Aquadome would complement Funland as the only non age discriminating attraction on the Island and in the longer term, assist in deferring the need for social care related to mobility needs as well as encouraging well being and exercise for residents of all ages.
For the many elderly and infirm who cannot use skate parks and exercise equipment an alternative is needed. Since the Council already has a sizeable plot to develop, HIRA suggests a comprehensive, well designed indoor pool, water slides, paddling pools, hydrotherapy pool with tiered rooms set in Healing and Winter gardens. Such a facility not only services all ages of our 19,000 residents and visitors, it reduces the need to visit the already congested Havant for Horizon. It would provide a far more permanent revenue stream and employment opportunities for young and old, than any new homes would. Unlike a hotel it would provide valuable resources for local people without the need for large coaches and continual traffic across the bridge.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing:
The plan puts a lot of emphasis on Windsurfing and the financial income that could be derived from the sport and while residents do not dispute that water sport enthusiasts are attracted to Hayling, it must be borne in mind that the large events provide a complete package of specialist goods and services. As such their benefit to the local economy is extremely limited and that it also requires significant sponsorship of the main events to keep them viable. One major kite surfing event has already left the Island due to high costs of the support required since HBC outsourced its Beachlands services and Virgin have pulled out of a 2nd large event leaving the organisers currently seeking additional sponsorship.
While there will be hundreds of individual wind and kite surfers who will continue to ride the waters off Hayling’s coast, to place such emphasis on income from the staging of large events would seem to be extremely precarious in the current financial climate.
If the Council seriously wishes to provide green transport then it is essential for it to take the necessary steps to facilitate regular, frequent bus services to the Ferry throughout the year. This will encourage tourism, take pressure off the bridge as people will be able to access Portsmouth and Southsea, particularly with an integrated bus service on the other side.
While Portsmouth has many major entertainment centres and attractions, Hayling has multiple accommodation facilities from B & B to caravan and camping sites at very competitive prices, but need the ferry link to increase their viability.
Equally the dangerous absence of a footpath and safe walkway from the Ferry eastwards along Ferry Road is contrary to any Government policy. Commuters, schoolchildren, cyclists, tourists, walkers would all welcome this essential addition that carries on a real tradition of our island way of life that the NPPF supposedly espouses.
These are recognized throughout the section on Hayling in the Draft Local Plan, and the Environment Agency states that they have an important role in supporting surface water flows and wetland ecosystems. One would expect them to contribute to Hayling’s ‘sustainability’ so we are concerned lest these be built over or reconfigured. Even without proposed developments, surface water on Hayling’s hard, non porous surfaces such as our roads, frequently remains, and even porous ground remains water logged. The rush to build may store up long term problems.
Anne Skennerton for Hayling Island Residents’ Association
February 15th 2018