Notes of an Open Committee Meeting held at URC Hall on Thursday 4th October 2012
Approximately 50 persons in attendance. Tim Dawes facilitated the meeting. Carole Nash took notes. The meeting began at 7pm.
1) Those present introduced themselves. Apologies had been received from Pete Walden (currently unable to serve on the committee). Annette Harley and Michael Blanch are willing to join. A suggestion that officers be agreed over coffee was accepted.
2) Havant Borough Council had indicated that information would be provided for this meeting, but this was picked up too late for presentation. It was agreed that we should continue to press for attendance of a council representative at a meeting.
3) Tim talked about how the Creative Quarter concept had been implemented in other towns with similar political composition.
4) A wide-ranging discussion followed which included: key position of the Bear Hotel whose refurbishment is in doubt, the council’s ownership of East Pallant car park, under-use of many buildings, regeneration of town centre depending on community buildings not on run-of-the-mill shops, inclusion of inventive small scale shops and workshops, importance of the church hall as a multi-use venue for Havant’s orchestra and Dynamo theatre – could this be acquired by a community trust? Need for exhibition space, use of local architects, financial implications for property owners who invest in the community, a community trust needs a business plan and may be able to form a partnership with the church, existence of Community Investment Levy (CIL) – Havant has such resources, an Enterprise Quarter could include more than creative activities, importance of a vibrant town centre inviting to visitors to increase footfall and boost local economy, lack of Havant town centre manager. It is very important that bridges are built with the council –focus entirely on housing needs to be argued out as it is an outdated model – the framework should include all that a community needs. Representation will be made to enter a dialogue. Having established that the council’s proposal is widely disliked we should ask the council to consider our vision – 2 or 3 key points including opportunities for enterprise and creativity, restaurants, balanced with housing and car parking. Contact with other organisations would be appropriate – churches, the Arts Centre, businesses. An ideas meeting was suggested. The timescale for any East Street regeneration is undefined, but is years rather than months.
5) Concern about dilapidated housing in West Street will be expressed to the council. The structural problems are non-trivial, but speedier resolution is sought. Access to Warblington school field via New Lane has been the subject of objections by many bodies (including Network Rail, County Highways Department and Fairfield School governors) and individuals. Plans are being changed on safety grounds; it is not too late for more representation. A document prepared by Annette Harley will be distributed by email. The council will be asked to contact the owners of the early Scott telephone box in West Street – this is a listed building in need of maintenance.
6) Buildings of interest mentioned were the Portsmouth Water Company’s old pumping station in Brockhampton Road – we should ask the PWC about the status of this building and ask the council to put it on the local list of buildings of interest. The Post Office building, one of only two bearing Edward VIII’s crest was raised; although the building as a whole is unimportant the door lintel is and should be preserved. Homewell House is already protected. John Pile has applied to English Heritage to have the White Hart and the War Memorial listed.
7) Finances – the general view was that subscriptions added to a sense of commitment and of belonging to a worthwhile organisation. A suggestion of about £5, £1 for unwaged was made. As there in no immediate need for funds this was left in abeyance. Peter Palmer spoke of Kenwood’s enthusiasm for contributing to the community and offered to approach the company secretary. Portsmouth Water was mentioned as another big local employer who might be invited to have links with the Civic Society.
8) Other business: Purchase of the domain name havantcivicsociety.org.uk achieved – David Smith offered to make a website. The possibility of a logo was raised, leading to debate about the relative merits of involving local schools in the design or a professional job. An effort to combine these approaches was accepted. Tim to speak to Own Agency to see if they might help design a logo from ideas submitted by local children and if so to contact Carolina Curado-Gloria who will take the idea forward. Chris Davis said that Havant 50+ Forum have arranged a demonstration round the war memorial on 16th October at 10 am. The use of hand-delivered paper notices was mentioned as a possibly better option to email. Two members offered to assist with letter-drops. Having had queries from neighbours, a member suggested that membership application slips be made available.
9) The meeting closed at 9 pm with the officer roles and date of next meeting to be decided.