Letter to HBC Leader Cllr. Alex Rennie
Havant Borough Residents' Associations, Havant Civic Soc., named Campaigning Groups against damaging developments, Save Our Island, CPRE Vice-President, Friends of the Earth, met Nov 11, agreeing that HBC Local Plan preparation has failed to follow even basic Consultation rules, Sustainability Appraisal & HBC should have a) challenged PfSH (Partnership for South Hampshire, consortium of south coast authorities on which sat HBC's Cllrs. Cheshire & Guest members who agreed the housing numbers & the building on green fields) which subsequently the Government allocated to Havant b) and ensured that the Borough was always viewed as a whole so that infrastructure essentials were central - instead of developments only focussed on plots in isolation from the Borough's infrastructure. Consequently we all agreed to sign a letter to the Leader, Cllr. Alex Rennie, urging him to challenge the Government, using Michael Gove's own words, and also release the 2021 National Census results (for both see attached letter). You too might wish to adapt the letter and send it to Cllr. Rennie. Our MP Alan Mak takes the line that he cannot get involved in local planning &, whilst this may be statutorily the case, there have been many instances where an MP has taken up residents' concerns about Local Plan building on green fields before brownfield sites, see https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/local-plan-intervention-a-question-of-mp-influence/ Now that residents' complaints against HBC's Local Plan have been thoroughly vindicated by 2 highly experienced Inspectors, all residents need to be writing in, paper & email, to our Councillors, especially Cllr. A. Rennie and MP Alan Mak, demonstrating their will to persuade their Ministers, with Conservative majorities, to listen to the electorate. We are not just stakeholders, we are customers - we pay for their incomes and their planning system is demonstrably not working correctly when housing numbers are applied indiscriminately with no justification from restricted infrastructure.
Cllr. A. Rennie,
Havant Borough Council,
Public Service Plaza,
Havant P09 2AZ
Dear Councillor Rennie 15th November 2021
HAVANT LOCAL PLAN – INTERIM INSPECTORS’ REPORT
We write to you, as Leader of the Council, on behalf of increasingly concerned residents of the Borough. Whilst noting your stated position that “This is the right plan for the right place” with respect we cannot agree.
The Council’s position has always been that it must meet the housing targets set by the government, as then filtered through PfSH. Paragraph 55 of the Inspectors’ interim report has given you the opportunity to take an alternative approach based on the NPPF. Rather than fight your residents by continuing to push for more unwanted housing we exhort you to challenge the government to push back on the numbers being foisted on you in order to protect the Borough’s precious environment.
We appreciate that this would need a fundamental change in mind set by both members and officers and whilst we know that previous approaches to the Secretary of State have not proved successful we believe that armed with the Inspectors’ findings and backed by a firm case setting out the insurmountable constraints this would provide a strong reason for restricting the overall scale, type and distribution of development in the Borough, by explaining the exceptional circumstances required for a departure from the standard method.
We understand the need to provide adequate housing for residents but believe that the current approach is not delivering the type of affordable/first homes development the Borough needs and that the numbers currently proposed only encourage in-migration causing unacceptable pressures on infrastructure, services and amenities and resulting in irreparable environmental damage. In support of this we would refer to Michael Gove’s reply to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on 8th November in reply to a question about leeway in housing targets. He stated “My colleague Chris Pincher has made it clear that in developing a plan a local authority can say, “Right, this is the number to which we have been working. However, in this community, in this area, you have to take account of the fact that we have AONBs here, SSSIs here, green belt there and so on. It would be unrealistic to expect us, consistently with all those factors, to meet the figure that has been produced.””
We also suggest you call for urgent release of the preliminary 2021 census results for Havant population and households in order to ground truth the projections currently in use.
We believe that you are now awaiting a response to David Hayward’s letter of 4th November to the Inspectors but in view of the above and the seriousness of the situation we would request an urgent meeting with you and your Cabinet colleagues.
Ann Buckley, CMCIH,
HBRA Co-ordinator for:
CPRE Hampshire Hayling Island Res. Assn. Save Our Island
Emsworth Residents’ Assn. Langstone Res. Assn. Waterlooville Res. Assn.
Havant Civic Society Save Old Bedhampton West Bedhampton and North Hill Res. Assn.
Havant Friends of the Earth Save Long Copse Lane Warblington and Denvilles Res. Assn.