Progress update on the Aqua/Learning Centre Project
I am very pleased to be able to tell you that I met with Senior Havant Borough Council Officials on Wednesday16 May. A viability and feasibility study will be undertaken over the next few weeks in respect of the Aqua Dome/Learning Centre project. If successful, this will be followed by consultants tasked by HBC to consider the project as a whole and they would report back by the end of the third quarter this year. It is because of the strong support by residents for the concept of the Aqua Dome/Learning Centre that the feasibility and viability of the project is being actively considered.
The Aqua Dome Project is likely to be raised at the next council meeting in June, so if you do feel you would like to support the concept of an all weather leisure and combined education facility which would have health benefits, please e-mail your local Councillor and tell them.
It may be that parts of the project are not viable and it is highly probable the project will be “tweaked” and located at a different site to fit in with Council plans. I am confident however that provided Councillors understand that this is important to residents they will support this.
Some Hayling residents have raised concerns about additional traffic on our roads, but it is important to remember that visitors will not have to travel off of the Island for all weather activities and local residents will not need to travel off the Island for leisure facilities, and with more housing development there will be an increase in the number of families who would wish to do this. If the plan for public transport both sides of the ferry are implemented (local Councillors are working hard to achieve this) both Portsmouth and Hayling tourists will be encouraged to use the ferry rather than drive about 12 miles across the bridge and 12 miles back.
A charitable ‘not for profit’ trust has registered interest in the management side of the project. I have also made contact with Universities, including of course the University of Portsmouth, to discuss if they would have an interest in using the Learning Centre as a hub for environmental and other research paths.
Obviously until there is a definite decision from the Council no charity or funding stream is able to commit but signs are positive.
There is a long way to go and it is really important that our local Councillors know whether or not this project has the support of residents when they meet to discuss it.
Whatever happens Hayling will change, and we can influence that change or not, but the status quo is not an option.