The Covid-19 situation seems to have given Havant Borough Council more excuse than usual to fly under the radar, with meetings held away from the public gaze and a distinct lack of scrutiny.
On the back of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s ‘initiative’ on nitrate mitigation, it was obvious that Havant Borough Council were intent on looking for opportunities to play the same game. In common with many of the Solent district and borough councils, for example Eastleigh and Fareham, Havant Borough Council actually own much of the farmland on their patch, leasing it back to tenant farmers. Warblington Castle Farm has been the home of S.H.Young & Son Ltd, the dairy, for as long as many of us can remember, the old yellow electric milk float once a regular nocturnal sight on the town streets.
The heavily redacted documentation from the Council Meeting held on June 3rd didn’t do much to reinforce trust between HBC and local residents’ groups. The multiple references to ‘Warblington Farm’ which could be found by scanning its superficially blacked out pages proved suspicions that HBC were about to do a Little Duxley Farm job on our very own Warblington Castle Dairies.
On September 9, during Prime Minister’s Questions, our incumbent MP asked his PM to “join me in thanking the farmers in Havant for the contribution they make to our country and our prosperity.” We assume he was referring to the contribution that Henry Young has been persuaded to make, giving up his livelihood so that Havant Borough Council can reap the benefits of the nitrate credit harvest.
The trouble is, we’re not convinced that the maths stacks up. The cashflow analysis of the Warblington Farm Nutrient Mitigation Scheme has not yet been made public.
We’re not holding our breath.