Infrastructure dominated the discussion at a Meeting September 17th organized by the Havant Borough Residents’ Associations and associated groups, when they invited the new HBC Head of Planning Simon Jenkins (also working for East Hants.), HBC’s David Hayward Planning Policy Manager and Cllr. Leah Turner, HBC’s new Cabinet Lead for Communities, Planning and Housing, to hear their concerns. Residents gave well researched presentations on Borough wide issues with a few highlighted here. Residents urged appropriate Land Use – for example, Brownfield sites still unused, permitted developments still not built yet greenfield sites brought forward - and Affordable Housing rather than Developers’ mainly large executive style properties.
The residents’ groups’ Planning for our Environment and Sustainability presentation asked and were told that there is no one person at HBC responsible for this crucial issue and the claim that it is ‘everyone’s’ responsibility was considered unacceptable for effective implementation. Real sustainability for surface and fluvial flooding, coastal protection, suitable housing does not seem to be reflected in the fact that Havant’s 46% land development makes it the most congested southern region outside Southampton and Portsmouth. Is HBC simply following Government’s plans for a Solent City extending to Southampton with no prospect of even road infrastructure capable of supporting it in our already intensively developed coastal communities?
Residents also urged HBC to make more effort to engage with all community sectors: HBC’s reliance on the internet both for communication and completion of surveys and consultations was demonstrated to have lamentably low responses eg. 1 or 2 in some cases. Their magazine Serving You’s 3 month lead time illustrates that eg Library, town centre public displays for any surveys remain essential for effective widespread consultations. One officer’s response that absence of reply might demonstrate public satisfaction with their work was rejected by the residents at the meeting.
HBC’s Draft Local Plan pre-submission goes to Council & Cabinet in January 2019 for voting. Thereafter public consultation will be followed by the Examination in Public later in 2019 when the public may apply to make any further representation before the Government appointed Independent Inspector re the Plan’s soundness & legal compliance. Further details from HBC Planning.