Portsmouth Water HQ access – spoiled for choice?

Last night, we attended the Development Consultation Forum for the new Portsmouth Water HQ proposed development.

The development proposal – a contextual view

The HBC team had not invited the Bosmere Medical Practice or their Patient Participation Group (PPG) to the forum and as a result, yesterday’s meeting may have been the first time that the architect and Chancerygate, PW’s shed builder of choice, had been able to grasp the scale of the medical practice they are proposing to trash. With over 19,000 affected local residents on their patient list and as one of the largest GP practices in Hampshire, it seems all the more astonishing that this directly impacted GP practice had not been previously been identified as a ‘key stakeholder’ in the proposal. 

The chart above demonstrates how the Bosmere Medical Practice patient list has grown steadily year on year, from 14,700 in 2007, to the current total of 19,370.  Given the catchment area of the practice and the growth in population planned in the Havant Borough Local Plan 2036, we can safely predict that this rate of growth will continue.

The proposal:

In what sadly is often the case with Havant, the development proposals for the Portsmouth Water site are being handled piecemeal, with no clear thought to the overall transport infrastructure within which new developments should be defined. The first proposal to come forward, the subject of last night’s Development Consultation Forum, has been drawn up in isolation from the one which will eventually be submitted for the delivery of 135 houses on the ‘old’ Portsmouth Water HQ building in West Street. 

Last night was the first time that it had become clear to us that Portsmouth Water intend to keep their site yard in Brockhampton Road. The next (?) phase of the site proposal will be for the 135 houses which will be crammed onto the land occupied by the current HQ building and the land behind it.

Because the architect of last night’s proposal has not been given an overall context in which to plan her design, she has accepted that the Bosmere Medical Centre site access on Solent Road is the only one available to her.  In reality, as our questioning brought out, the logical site access for the new development is from Brockhampton Road, through one of the company’s existing ‘yard’ entrances.

Portsmouth Water stated last night that one of the prime reasons for keeping the new HQ building in Havant will be its proximity to this existing yard, an option which their alternative office site (Lakeside, North Harbour) couldn’t offer. When called on by the chairman to respond to points made in our deputation, they expressed reservations as to whether they’d be able to get any access from Brockhampton Road ‘without causing distress to the residents of Manor Court’.

We have good news for them! They already have four possible entrances to choose from:

Forcing new site traffic through what is effectively the dedicated Solent Road access to the Bosmere Medical Centre will cause further traffic chaos on Solent Road and will severely impact the operation of one of Hampshire’s largest GP practices. With over 19,000 residents on their books, it is perhaps unwise of Portsmouth Water not to bring the Practice and their Patient Participation Group with them on this journey.

Havant Civic Society fully support the concept of the Regeneration of Havant, in fact, we’re looking forward to the update which will be given by the Regeneration team at our next public meeting on November 6th. However, we do need to see coherent plans for redevelopment of existing sites within the town. The piecemeal redevelopment of the Portsmouth Water site and the lack of a coherent road infrastructure is not what we think of as ‘Regeneration’.

Please get it right – #rethinkhavant