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Perennial Problems

HIRA June Article 2022

Hayling’s fine weather made the Arts Trail a delight for show-casing creativity whilst appreciating the Island’s special atmosphere. Fortunately some venues were accessible on traffic free or quiet roads but some, off Hayling’s busy roads, challenged cyclists who were faced with fast vehicles and constant traffic. Crossing the A3023 to Northney, for example, avoiding the Billy Trail’s very uneven surface can be enough to deter the most enthusiastic cyclist, especially if they wish to travel off the Island. Many of us, whether pedestrians or motorists, can only wonder at the impact that Sinah’s 195 and Rook Farm’s 300 proposed dwellings and their associated traffic will have on the Island’s restricted infrastructure.

The Government’s abrupt post-election u-turn on housing developments (BBC R4 11-5-22) echoes Cllr. Rennie’s acknowledgement that “Housing, Transport, Sewage” seriously worry the electorate. Michael Gove stated that ‘street views’ near developments should be heeded – isn’t that the point of existing consultations? “Arithmetic is important, but so is beauty, ...belonging,...democracy” (Gove). Conveniently his apparently ‘understood concerns’ are too late to stop unbridled housing growth, the deliberate result of Government policy. Despite nutrient ‘barriers to residential development’, Cllr. Alex Rennie’s Council Press Release 9-5-22 claims HBC’s own analysis is sufficient to over-ride them. How does this address Islanders’ concerns?

Natural England’s increased planning requirements (18-3-22) to prevent ongoing environmental damage, extended from 32 to 42 Local Authorities, demonstrate even this Government funded body’s worries about nutrient pollution. Decision makers “must err on the side of caution”, significant and adverse effects viewed “alone and in-combination”. Yet HBC is determined to drive through residential development numbers that exceed even Government’s original 2016 target. Nutrient pollution excesses severely damage all wildlife, disrupting natural processes. New residential development “can only happen if the nutrient load created through additional wastewater from the development is mitigated” (DEFRA 16-3-22). Sewage and transport link directly to housing; Hayling’s known limited capacity for the former cannot make proposed dense housing in any way sustainable. Ironically Government’s drive for investment in a ‘Solent City’ has driven up local house prices, brought in those priced out of London and seeking housing investments; so ‘local homes for local people’ is very mis-leading.

Local people are crowd-funding for thorough sea water monitoring because our local and national Governments don’t, despite evidence of unacceptable pollutants. Ofwat’s successful criminal investigation into Southern Water’s disgraceful failures in its sewage treatment sites and “deliberate misreporting of performance information” (10-10-19) demonstrated Government DEFRA’s own failure to fulfil its statutory duty both then and now. Indeed, all “competent authorities” including companies, have “a duty to help protect, conserve and restore ...protected habitats and species...” including SPAs and SACs and inshore waters within 12 nautical miles of the coast (Gov.UK 24-02-21). Government now talks of repealing European Legislation to make development easier!

May Elections disappointed residents wanting to have seen all candidates ‘working’ wards, campaigning on issues, leafletting and door-stepping. Cllr. Rennie acknowledged the successful impact of so doing in St. Faiths; success breeds success, but voters need to see positive action by all candidates.

The Local Plan is being re-written. Many residents think that its housing numbers must include in-fill and windfall (NPPF Sec.70), which we think HBC insufficiently recognizes. Could you help by tracking the housing being built across Hayling? Let us know.

Diary Date: Public Meeting Thursday June 9th 7:15 for 7:30pm Hayling Community Centre, Station Rd.


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