Healthy Island

Congratulations to Jerry and Elise for putting together an Island-focussed newspaper, a truly local venture, good for the whole community on so many levels.

Hayling’s Infrastructure Advisory Group, comprising Service Providers and residents’ groups, is still waiting to view Havant Borough Council’s re-worked Hayling Transport Assessment. Despite repeated requests to continue contributing valuable input, the Group’s residents can now only hope for a truly ‘sustainable’ Assessment result later this Autumn.

At an ‘Environmental Forum’ presentation by Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, HIRA and other local residents’ groups were reminded that Hayling’s mid-western and eastern coastlines will be ‘let go’ or undergo ‘managed retreat’ in the face of the forecast (non-storm) rise in sea levels. Private landowners are responsible for much of this coastline’s defence.

We were all reminded of the need for ‘cost benefit to value added’ in any coastline protection strategy. Hampshire County Council, the owner of the Billy Trail, stated that it has no spare funding for the Trail.

Nevertheless HIRA highlighted: the dangers of narrowing Hayling’s central point by moving the Trail inland where land would still need to be defended or eventually risk inundating the main road; the huge benefit of the Trail, despite its poor maintenance over decades, in providing all ages, cyclists, horse-riders a safe alternative to the A3023, there being no other equivalent route; the benefits to all of healthy lifestyles; tourist revenue essential to Hayling’s economy.

Alan Mak MP chaired this Forum, bringing those Agencies responsible for our environment together with residents’ representatives, to discuss some of the major environmental issues recently raised by Islanders. A key focus was to ‘maintain and enhance our environment’, ensuring ‘place shaping’ that could attract the necessary funding to enhance people’s quality of life. Comparison was made to Portsmouth’s Tipner Lake for recreation and environmental benefits.

Hayling’s Place Shaping strategy must surely include our Island’s vital rural economy. Locally grown farm food reduces food miles. Residents and tourists walk, cycle, birdwatch along lanes beside fields sustaining wildlife. The Billy Trail is the ‘green’ Hampshire Shipwright’s Way to our coast. Cllr. Humby of HCC emphasized that we must all sign up to an agreed strategy to gain Government funds. We should make a genuinely healthy Island lifestyle the key focus.

HIRA Public Meeting: NORSE Southeast Speakers. 18th October 7:30 pm HI Community Centre, West Town. Contact HIRA hello@haylingresidentsassociation.co.uk or drop boxes: Hayling Community Centre, West Town; Morris Dibben, Mengham; The Terracotta Pot and Gift Shop, Eastoke; Library, Elm Grove. www.haylingresidentsassociation.co.uk

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