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Developer's Charter and Virtual Meetings

HIRA July 2020 Article Herald

Barratt Homes’ Appeal to the Planning Inspector because of HBC’s cancelled DMC’s (Development Management Committee) meeting to determine Sinah Field’s Barratts’ Development Application, surprises because COVID-19 rules cancelled this meeting which was, I understand, only postponed until June. However Barratt Homes have requested an Informal Hearing which involves submission of written evidence and discussion by all parties, including local residents and councillors, before an Inspector. Of immediate concern is the reality that one of the largest residential property developers has the resources to legally re-present its Planning Applications to an Authority in the current climate of the NPPF’s (Government Planning Policy) ‘Developer’s Charter’ – as viewed by residents contesting sizeable applications because Councils strapped for cash look to huge developments for necessary Community Infrastructure Levy moneys. Ironically vital infrastructure changes like transport cannot occur before the building work that will negatively impact on our communities.

Local residents’ concerns include the fact that, as with 3 other controversial housing developments on Havant’s mainland, such building developments are being approved before the Pre-Submission Local Plan to 2036 goes to the Planning Inspector for thorough scrutiny of all evidential elements of the Plan including all Public Consultations. That Inspector can call on complainants to further explain their concerns. Hayling’s Transport Assessment, part of the Local Plan’s Evidence Base, is one example of why no further major housing developments should be approved before the rigour of the full Planning Inspectorate commencing late 2020 or 2021. It is alarming that, despite a 2020 Scrutiny Board’s attempt to check an Executive’s arguably flawed decision concerning our transport infrastructure, those Councillors’ majority vote was effectively dismissed. What chance ordinary residents’ reasonable objections now?

HBC’s Cabinet June 3rd first public virtual meeting confused some who thought they could access it visually but it was by pre-registered telephone link. Please keep record of your own cumulative experiences with councils’ virtual meetings and later email your comments Several important issues arise from this meeting’s management: deputations were invited but the vital Warblington Farm document was not published in time for deputees to examine; the public’s exclusion from detailed discussion of HBC’s proposal to use Warblington Farm as mitigation – i.e. bird reserve - for nitrates on Campdown’s proposed development was deeply frustrating and secretive; it is not in the required same catchment area (Natural England Report) and there’s no evidence that it will provide sufficient mitigation nor, with sea rises nibbling at its edges, for the 80 years required by Habitats Regulations Authority. On the equally key issue of employment, HBC’s continued removal of agricultural land – Sinah Field’s another example – does nothing for local people seeking to continue the local, agricultural work increasingly needed for so many positive, health-promoting reasons.

HBC’s Cabinet is due to consider the Pre-Submission Local Plan Changes (request this document dated 25-03-2020) on July 1st and if approved it would go to Full Council followed by a consultation re legal compliance and soundness. This would not override that of early 2019, both would be reported to the Inspector and all representations received included alongside the submission of the local plan to the Secretary of State.

The first phase of the Government’s much-trumpeted Cycling and Walking emergency funding requires completion in 8 weeks, and Hampshire’s current allocation probably leaves pitifully little for Hayling. But is our Council prepared to make long-term investment in safe cycling and walking for the public? See Wilf Forrow’s Cycle Hayling article in this issue.

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