With a minimum of fuss and only a modicum of fanfare, the Havant Regeneration Programme was re-launched in the Beacon Centre at Havant Borough Council’s newly acquired Meridian Centre today. Perhaps mindful of the ill-fated first launch attempt on June 13th last year, little or no advance publicity was given to the public this time around.
The Council’s negotiations to buy the Meridian Centre from the administrators was something of an open secret last year, nevertheless it was deemed that showing the video in public before the deal was secured might confuse some of the residents and businesses of the properties concerned and perhaps sabotage the deal.
Councillor Tim Pike, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Lead of Planning, Regeneration and Communities, opened the meeting with the following presentation.
You may be aware that some of the HCS Committee had already seen the video in confidence last year during a meeting with the Regeneration team and as a result had been keen to get it shown at our AGM on November 6th last year. Sadly – or perhaps fortunately – the General Election was announced the very same day and the purdah rule provided the perfect excuse for HBC to pull the video and any discussion of the Regeneration Programme from our agenda. A month later, with the deal for the Meridian Centre finally completed, the way was clear to finally put the video into the public domain and the launch event was scheduled for February 4th.
Warning # 1 – This is an ‘aspirational’ video produced by a typical marketing agency. Once you’ve watched it through and recovered your balance, try it again, this time hitting pause from time to time and clicking through frame by frame using the left and right cursor arrows on your keyboard.
Warning # 2 – Unless you actually enjoy call centre ‘hold music’, you might find it improves with the sound off!
Yesterday, members of the HCS Committee together with representatives from the residential community met with the newly refreshed Regeneration Team at the Plaza. Our intention, after taking in another preview of the video, was to start the ball rolling on building an External Community Stakeholder working group to engage with the Regeneration Programme. We were delighted to find that Clare Chester, the new Head of Regeneration and Economy, was clearly receptive to this initiative and we look forward to working together with Clare and her team to set this up.
If you’ve been following our previous posts, you’ll recognise that we’ve been concerned since ‘Day 1’ in October 2018 that the local community must be engaged throughout the full lifecycle of such a wide ranging programme of work. To be clear, by ‘local community’, we include not just the residents but also the local providers of healthcare, education, small business, emergency and safety services.
Together, we have the skills, the experience and the ‘skin in the game’ to help the HBC team get Phase 1 of the Havant Town Centre component of this vision moving.
We’ll keep you posted.