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July Article

As published in the Hayling Trader as will be the September/October Article.

June 14th’s cavernous hole in Hayling’s only major access route, the by now famous A3023 cul de sac, was caused by Portsmouth Water’s (PW) largest water main supply to the Island bursting. Regardless of the cause, the appalling consequences of this event highlights Hayling’s continued vulnerability to its infrastructure weaknesses. HIRA has repeatedly emphasized the inadequacy of Havant Borough Council’s Emergency Plan for Hayling and the lack of proper practice: limited desk-top efforts reflect little appreciation for the real effects of a major incident here.

Residents notified HIRA of Hampshire Highways’ alarmingly inaccurate response to their call, emailed 14:57 BST, that: the police were “now not allowing HGVs onto the Island, as the diversion route is not suitable”. In contradiction to this, at about 14:30 the residents observed a parked Highways vehicle but no evidence of action nor police nor anyone diverting traffic away from Hayling, and the gridlock included coaches, lorries, delivery vans trying to reach south Hayling via Northney. As the residents drove off Hayling from north Hayling, traffic was at a standstill at every junction including the A27 in both directions and Bedhampton roundabout queuing from Cosham; approaching the A3 the A27 was gridlocked towards Portsmouth and the A3 traffic queued back as drivers tried to enter the Hayling slipway.

Residents are continually made aware of the Island’s ageing and, for its increasing population and heavy vehicle traffic, inadequate pipework; unfortunately much of this lies beneath built up areas so cannot easily – if at all – be routinely replaced.

Can the Island cope with 1000 + more homes and their attendant HGV then each home’s own one or two car ownerships? Pre-election promises by Councillors Wilson and Satchwell to set up another meeting with Hayling’s Infrastructure Advisory Group in order to re-examine the Council’s Road Assessment have, so far, been unfulfilled. Meanwhile the Council’s own Engineering Department claimed that it was the use of traffic lights that caused June 3rd’s ‘horrendous gridlock’ on Hayling’s A3023: ironically HBC’s Island Traffic Regeneration Plan proposes traffic lights at our main roads’ junctions.

The ongoing saga of Southern Water’s frequently failing service was addressed by SW’s Daniel McElhinney at a meeting (May 29th) organized by the Save Our Island group. Promised are: a complete refurbishment costing approx. £1.1 million) of Stoke’s 2nd replacement pump, to include a 3rd back up pump, permanent generator, new control system & early warning sensors; Fishery Lane’s pressure release failure and main drain break has been added to a list of 17 in the region classified as ‘high risk’ for replacement – note that this pipe crosses beneath roads, private properties, fields and gardens – commencement to be decided in Sept. 2019. It also transpired that HBC gave SW 960 as the housing number out to 2036 and were also not aware of current windfall approvals and estimates of an additional 100 per year. The Save Our Island groups’ spokesman, David Parham, will continue this dialogue and keep us appraised.

We are all well aware of the moratorium on south coast major building developments’ planning following nitrate levels, caused by historical farm fertilisers and house building, damaging our coastal and inland water supplies. Will Councils’ legal challenge to this decision by the Government body Natural England be successful? Should the Government instead focus on using empty properties and new towns to satisfy those needing homes?

The News’ Islander closure is a huge loss to all who value Hayling’s great community spirit, and we look forward to hearing positive news from those wanting to publish a replacement newspaper. Many people love to read their news and views in hard copy and there are local deliverers keen to continue their local service so let’s get behind a new independent venture!

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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