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Local Plan Delays

On behalf of HIRA may I wish readers a very happy, healthy New Year. I hope that you’ll attend our next open Public Meeting on Wednesday February 12th 2020 7:15 for 7:30pm start at the URC, Hollow Lane. Speaker will be Mark Cubbon, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Hear his Presentation and put your own questions for discussion.

Regarding our Borough’s Local Plan to 2036, Havant Borough Council gave us the frustrating news very late in 2019 that the Pre-Submission Plan has not yet been presented to the Planning Inspector as we had been told. Instead this is likely to be in the Summer of 2020. HBC’s December announcement explained that they are still working on “the issue of nutrient neutrality” which, readers may know, seriously affects our local harbours, marine life and soil. Despite the continued uncertainty regarding this issue, HBC is working hard to persuade the Government to permit proposed developments on our green fields. We sincerely wish that there were similar passionate concerns for our natural environment and real sustainability - for all Hayling residents - of the projected major developments.

The other further required work has, as we all know, been on the Hayling Transport Assessment Addendum, which is a vital ‘evidence base’ for the Pre-Submission Local Plan. The Infrastructure Group’s two November Meetings, at which HBC presented their revision, heard many residents express profound disquiet that there is little substantive change from the original, rejected, Hayling Island Transport Assessment. Indeed at the second November Meeting, Save Our Island group presented a detailed Report, which explained why HBC’s new workings are fundamentally flawed. This independent Report was written with the advice of University of Southampton Visiting Professor Nick Hounsell, a national and international Consultant on Transport and Infrastructure. Indeed it also echoes facts provided by HIRA’s own Responses to the Draft Local Plan to 2036 back in 2016: these facts were provided by Tony Higham’s research as a technical and engineering expert. It appears to us all that the A3023’s limited traffic capacity, often demonstrated by well established and documented traffic congestion on the Island, is simply being ‘smoothed over’ by a Council determined to press through building development. We have formally requested that all our critiques of the revised Addendum be presented to the Inspector.

Whether or not one frequently uses Hayling coastlines, everyone recognizes that these are vital resources of our island as well, of course, of our wider region. HBC’s ‘Hayling Seafront Regeneration Analysis & Feasibility Study January 2019’ has detailed proposals following its initial summary and which includes photographs to illustrate all the building and features described. It’s important to view all these very specific proposals which you can do online (type the title into your Search Bar) or request them from the Council. Is this how you see Hayling’s beaches developing?

The previous Regeneration strategy last year, proposed some reduction of a number of car parking locations. This seems counter-intuitive to the acknowledgement that Hayling’s Seafront is a key attraction for visitors and therefore Council revenue – quite apart from its benefit to the Island’s commerce and residents’ well-being. Currently, West Beach provides a graphic illustration of how residents and visitors alike have already lost, over the past few years, not only locations for Beach Huts but now car parking as well. HIRA’s Public Meetings keep people informed about such key issues and we learned, from the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, that the Inn on the Beach’s structure and its location apparently reduces the build up of gravel and sand onto West Beach. Arguably however, removing revetments instead of maintaining them at this location, is now speeding up this process and we can actually see underlying core as the beach erodes. More unnervingly is the sight of coastal material such as seaweed, from an ordinary high tide without strong winds, only yards from the boundary of the Par 3 Golf Course. Let your Councillors know your views.

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