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Broken Agreements

Twelve non-aligned, non-political residents’ groups’ representatives, appointed to Havant Borough Council’s Hayling Island Infrastructure Advisory Group in January 2017, walked out of the January 16th Infrastructure Advisory Meeting held at the Plaza, following a statement made to the Chairman, Cllr. Wilson, by Hayling resident Dave Parham. The reason for the walk-out was as follows. HBC had set up the Advisory Group expressly to engage the wider residential community with the profoundly serious issues of Hayling’s Infrastructure. We have been faithful in attending all the Infrastructure Presentations, using our respective professional experiences to question major Service Providers and making, wherever possible, constructive contributions.

9 months ago, at the April 25th 2018 Infrastructure Meeting, HBC stated that it would set up training sessions for those interested in understanding the “highly complex” A3023 Micro-Simulation Study. This opportunity never materialized despite residents’ repeated requests. At that same Meeting residents complained that they had not been involved with the parameters for this key study of the A3023’s current performance, yet the outcome of any traffic modelling depends upon the parameters initially set.

During Autumn 2018 the non-aligned residents were told that the Micro-Simulation Study would be presented to the Group a clear month before its general publication, giving us time to examine and comment on it. The Study was available in early December 2018, but the Group was informed January 10th 2019 that it would only have an “overview” of the Hayling Island Micro-Simulation Model at a January 16th Meeting - just 2 weeks before its presentation to Full Council’s final vote as part of the Pre-Submission Local Plan 2036. Our requests to postpone January 16th’s Meeting have been denied. Therefore the Hayling Infrastructure Advisory Group has had no chance to be engaged in any part of the Micro-Simulation Study or even the Pre-Submission Local Plan final Report. We also learned that the Press was given a briefing but not our Group.

It is clear from this sequence of broken agreements that our Advisory Group has been prevented from meaningful engagement with the Infrastructure conclusions at this final critical Stage of the Local Plan to 2036. We feel that HBC has chosen to disregard the very real concerns about Hayling’s A3023 and related road network. Had we remained for the Presentation, it could have been interpreted as condoning and endorsing the Council’s actions and the Micro-Simulation exercise.

Insufficient Community Involvement remains a feature of HBC and, sadly, too many of our Councillors: only one, mainland, resident was informed about the scheduled Jan. 14th Councillors presentation on the Development sites, but learned of its advancement to the 9th January that morning, yet residents could have put questions to their Councillors in advance of that meeting – if they’d even known about it. Councillors could keep their Wards updated with leaflets – not just at elections. Making everyone dependent on subscribing to HBC’s electronic updates is not sufficient.

It was a shock to residents to learn that an Undertaker’s could replace Elm Grove’s Chemist because they are part of the same Class of Use. Given the public’s comments particularly on the site’s location, it would surely be understandable if Planners had refused permission for an Undertaker’s. Is this Planning Law out of date or should Planners take more account of locations before approvals?

The decision not to ‘hold the line’ for the coastline between West Beach’s Inn on the Beach around to North Shore Rd., is another, key element that cannot be ignored when house-building decisions are being taken. Already West Beach has lost about 35 metres following removal of defences. Yet this area is part of HBC’s Hayling ‘Vision’ to populate it with ‘shabby chic hotel pods’. HIRA’s forthcoming Public Meeting focusses on Flooding and Coastal Change for Hayling (details below, note timing) so hear the experts and put your questions!

Those who walked out yesterday Hayling Islanders: Wilf Forrow, Rosie Law, Mike Owens, Anne Skennerton, Dave Parham, John Perry, Jim Palmer, Robert Woodward, Ray Rowsell. Langstone Residents: Ann Griffiths, Peter Oliver, David Pattenden

Open Public Meeting: Wednesday 27th February 7:30pm Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) Speaker on Flooding and Coastal Change Plans for Hayling Island at United Reformed Church, Hollow Lane.

Contact HIRA or drop boxes: Hayling Community Centre, West Town; Morris Dibben, Mengham; The Terracotta Pot and Gift Shop, Eastoke; Library, Elm Grove.

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