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Local Plan Hearings Stage 1

These took place all last week and have now concluded. Here is an update:

Passing references were made to Stage 2 in the Autumn so I'll post any future significant developments. Note that the 3 possible outcomes of the Inspectors' Examination now and in the coming months of the Council's Local Plan are:

1. It is Sound - this is "rare"

2. It is Sound but with changes/Modifications made by the Council as required by the Inspector/s. We can only hope that the arguments that were made by residents from local groups, encourage our 'desireable' outcomes but we are up against the Government's over-riding housing numbers!

3. It is Unsound & cannot be made so with changes/Modifications. In this event there is no Local Plan so the Government steps in & it is a Developers' 'free for all' with Council having no say in conditions including Developers' Community Infrastructure Levy moneys.

My impressions of the Hearings which I attended and at which I also made representations are as follows:

Both Inspectors gave Participant "guests" time to present their views - "guests" are residents who had submitted comments on the Pre-Submission Local Plan and requested attendance, in order to be able to express any 'new' concerns/findings. This was important otherwise Council & Developers' interests predominate which was my impression from the time given them both over the last 1.5 days particularly to respond to whatever else was said - remember that they also spoke first to respond to the Inspector's question. For those of you who listened or are catching up on the recordings, I hope that you agree that the residents' representatives of groups including those from Hayling, strongly argued the multiple reasons against the excessive new housing developments not to mention the Transport Assessments.

Strikingly, throughout the week, the Council was often in the position of responding to Inspectors' questions with 'we don't have that information/study'. Of course Council also provided necessary references to material documents, but alarmingly the opposite was often the case. Consequently both Inspectors, Insp Jonathan Manning Mon-Wed & Friday afternoon, Insp Thomas Hatfield Thurs & Fri morning, frequently assigned what they later referred to as "homework" tasks for the Council. It is crucial for us that the Inspectors conclude that the Local Plan is "sound" & made so by Modifications to its elements.

Developers' representatives strongly argued for increased housing. Residents argued that: windfall be included thus reducing new housing numbers; nitrate neutrality policy would not solve the nitrates into our eco-system in the near future; invaluable wildlife habitat will be irretrievably lost throughout the borough; the transport assessments (mainland & Hayling's) are likely to exacerbate road use problems; Climate Change & forecast sea rises & flooding, especially for Hayling, have not been effectively addressed for the safety of current & future residents; infrastructure (eg road networks borough wide, schools re mainland sites, sewage, water, emergency access re Hayling) are still in question. Inspectors busily made notes throughout. Wednesday, Day 3, focussed entirely on Hayling, for your useful reference, although our Issues were also found throughout the week.

For all Examination Documents plus MOH03 Programme including Participants, & MIQ01 Matters & Issues (the Inspectors' specific questions of Council), please visit HBC website, input Local Plan in Search Bar. That page provides initial information but visit Examination Library (right hand green box) for detailed Documents. Watch/listen again on that page for 'Hearing' of individual morning & afternoon sessions: use the Programme & questions lists for guidance. Or try this link:


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