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Hayling's Future Coastline

Our forthcoming open Public Meeting gives you the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of our local NHS Hospitals Trust Chief Executive, Mark Cubbon. Please join us at the United Reformed Church, Hollow Lane 7:15 for 7:30pm sharp start; we conclude once all questions have been put or at the very latest 9:40pm.

Those of us who regularly visit and value Hayling’s shorelines cannot help but notice their ever-increasing coastal erosion. Together with Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership’s (ESCP) published information, HIRA has repeatedly publicised the real and ongoing threats to the stability of Hayling’s coastlines: at our February 2019 Public Meeting, on our website, to our members and via local press Articles. Whilst long experience has given rise to philosophical good humour, as residents witness mini lakes appearing inside shorelines, and seawater cascading onto roads, there is increasing anxiety about the real risks to our Island’s future.

Successive Governments’ policies, expressed through its Environmental Agency, seek to protect high density population and commerce: Southsea’s sea defences for example will cost over £100 million. A cost benefit ratio applies in order to justify and allocate public money, and most readers will, by now, be well aware that Hayling’s population and businesses are nowhere near Portsmouth’s and Southsea’s – Portsea Island’s - population and industry. Yet elsewhere in Britain, low density Highland islands have benefited from, for example, new bridges; it would appear that political policy can over-ride cost benefit ratios and money could possibly be found to protect our shrinking island. After all, if up to 1000 new homes are part of HBC’s Pre-Submission Local Plan to 2036, how does the Council propose protecting these properties from the forecasted rising sea-levels? New homes are expected to last at least 60 years (Planning Portal Blog October 2018). House-buyers expect to sell to future generations. But well before January’s Storm Brendan Hayling’s southern, western and northwestern coastlines clearly showed real erosion scouring, seawater flooding and subsequent loss of both wildlife habitat and human leisure resources. The process is accelerating.

There is an interesting website providing the latest news from the group for Southeast Hampshire Rapid Transit , of which Havant is a partner, and its successful bid of £4 million from the Department of Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. Under ‘Why Rapid Transport’ it states that “The project supports the delivery of the local plan development proposals across the region.”. A view of the outline plan under ‘Schemes’ indicates a route to Havant Centre, further eastwards and southwards onto Hayling Island. Although we have heard little or nothing from our Council about SEHRT, we must assume that, as a partner, it is fully aware of and agrees to their plans.

It is difficult to understand how the Council’s Regeneration plan for Hayling’s beaches, - found in its website’s Local Plan 2036, Evidence Base – plans to incorporate this Rapid Transit system. As stated on the SEHRT website, the scheme’s objective is to reduce car use, encouraging people to park their cars. Where will they do this on Hayling south or even north coastlines? Shingle shifting at Eastoke appears only barely to keep the current seawater surges at bay. West Beach has already lost a substantial chunk of Beach Hut ground, car parking and the remaining re-built revetment is being scoured out; sea water pools can occasionally now form yards from the public Par 3 course. Where will the proposed regeneration ‘pods’ be located in this ‘dynamic’ landscape? We watch with interest the progress of Southsea’s sea defences and wonder if Hayling will ever be suitably protected.

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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