Lining up more Dominos?

We always love a good Gantt chart and the one published this week for the Civic Plaza Car Park Redevelopment Project gives us plenty of food for thought. Safely viewed on an A4 page or from the back of the room when projected at the Cabinet meeting, it’s reassuringly unreadable and slopes down in the right sort of direction.

By any stretch of the imagination, the Civic Plaza Car Park Redevelopment Project is a ‘complex project’, particularly if the external programme dependencies and overall programme governance approach are factored in.

So we though it was worth a closer look, starting with the green bits – the work done to date:

Task 3 has already been ‘re-planned’ to the right and we note that the ‘Homes England’ Funding Agreement, which on plan completed on January 19th, wasn’t publicised until two months later. (Perhaps HBC decided to sit on it for a couple of months.)

The much trumpeted ‘Homes England‘ grant of £3.5 million is actually being used to pay the bill for WBD (Womble, Bond, Dickinson), ‘Homes England’s regular partner in such matters, and while the actual projected costs of the project are not publicly visible, it’s probably safe to say that the £3.5 million represents a very small part of that.


Now we’re sure that WBD will have offered sound advice to the Cabinet Meeting at task 9 but we would be fascinated to know what the contingency plans for Brexit are. For the past few decades, public service procurement has been required to follow the well worn European Journal route indicated in tasks 15, 16 and 17, however, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit that won’t work and an, as yet undefined, alternative must be used. ( Finger’s crossed, eh?)

Assuming that the EU Journal process can be followed, April is going to be a busy month, reviewing and scoring the questionnaires from prospective development partners. During May, June and July, HBC and WBD will be in discussions with the shortlisted candidates, reviewing initial schemes and developing the detail behind the formal ITT (Invitation to Tender). August holidays will be put on hold for some while the ITT is published to suppliers, responded to and returned to HBC, with selection of the preferred bidder taking place in September. October promises to be another busy month with the negotiation and acceptance of a Developer Agreement (DA) that binds the Development Partner to progress the development of the site in line with the Council’s aspirations around design quality, numbers and tenure and Homes England’s requirements within the agreed timeframe”. With that in place and HBC formal approval of the DA, appointment of the Development Partner will follow.

All by the end of October!

There then follows seven months of Design and Planning activity, four months to prepare the planning application for approval this time next year. I don’t doubt that we’ll all be invited to comment in the usual time honoured manner, but by this time the train will either be moving at express speed or will be well and truly off the rails. The overlapping of Detailed Design work with the Planning Approval process suggests that there will be little time for taking on board public comment.

Now most Gantt charts at this ‘sales’ level have a ‘here a miracle occurs’ moment and this one is no exception as we move into the ‘Construction’ phase. The dates on the left – the task start and end dates – now start to diverge from the right hand side of the chart, which suggests that this is a Powerpoint exercise rather than the output of a planning tool.

After four months of Contractor Procurement and preliminary work activity, a 22 month construction phase of the project kicks off. While the factory build of the prefab apartments takes place at an, as yet unspecified site, six months will be spent building new multi-storey car parking to compensate for that being lost through the development. Between October 2020 and March 2021, (Or should that be between March 2021 and July 2021?) it looks as if the Police Station, Magistrate’s Court and the Job Centre will be demolished, making way for the delivery of the prefabs.

Task 37, ‘MMC (Modern Method of Construction) Tool-up‘ is shown as running between ‘May 2020 and June 2020’, i.e. ending before the completion of contractor procurement. However, the graphic shows that activity running a more realistic four months later, through September and October 2020.

By September 2021, with most of the site assembly complete and only the completion of the ‘non MMC’ elements remaining, six months of Marketing and Letting activity begins. Or so it says in the task column. The Gantt chart itself shows this running nine months later, starting in June 2022, all rather confusing.

Project Completion either takes place between Jan and March 2022 or between June and August 2022, depending on which side of the chart you read. To the casual observer, the project completes by March 2023; to a more critical eye, it completes in August 2023.

So there you have it. Whatever could go wrong?

Civic Plaza ‘Car Park Redevelopment’ project

‘Car Park redevelopment’ may be something of a misnomer and it’s worth reading the document that was presented at the Havant Borough Council Cabinet meeting on March 20th.

In this document, you will find further explanation of the project proposal and the timescales. The timescales appear to be driven by conditions on the component of funding from Homes England. While that £3.5 million is being touted as ‘significant’, it is a drop in the ocean in the context of the full project costs. Take the link to this document and you will find an explanation of the ownership of the various sites shown in the chart below.

The fact that HBC own or can easily acquire these sites is the reason why they’re intent on this being Phase 1 of their Regeneration Programme.

The Regeneration Programme shows its true colours

And you’ll be delighted to see that the most well loved of town centre landmarks, the public footbridge linking the Civic Plaza to the historic town centre, is safely preserved in today’s publicity image from Homes England.

We already knew that Havant Borough Council were planning to invest their effort, our money and a modicum of grant funding from Homes England on new housing on the Civic Plaza site. Today they gave us a glimpse into how that might look in reality.

The image above might almost have been taken from the top of the last great white elephant, remember the thirteen storey tower block at the north east corner of Market Parade? If it’s hard to get your bearings, the five gabled unit in the foreground is built on the site of the Job Centre Plus in Elmleigh Road. To the left of that block, the magistrate’s court and the police station have given way to further blocks, masking – at least at ground level – the rather more utilitarian blocks built behind them on the existing Civic Centre car park.

It’s almost reassuring to see that Havant’s welcoming landmark, the decrepit railway footbridge is (just about) still standing proudly at the bottom right hand corner of the picture.

We look forward to the submission of the planning application safe in the knowledge that the planning process will most likely take its usual course, going through the motions, following ‘the process’, encouraging public comment then taking its own counsel.

January 2019 Home Page

Welcome to another year!  We seem to be galloping through the twenty-first century at an unseemly pace; it certainly doesn’t feel like twenty years have passed since the year 2000 was looming large with the country poised for the impact of IT systems meltdown.  The likelihood that ‘Brexit Day’ on March 29th will pass us by as a similar non-event seems low, at least to this editor.

D7C_6914

While the last nineteen years have passed at breakneck speed on the calendar, as we are all aware that the rate of change in Havant is rather less hurried.   As we wrote in November, “This is the town where bundles of tumbleweed and old McDonald’s boxes have rolled slowly past the faded hoardings at 44-54 West Street for more than a decade”.

As the New Year begins and the officers of Havant Borough Council look for permanent replacements for their lost leaders, we look forward to engaging with the Council on the subject of the Regeneration Study.  (If you’ve not already spotted the search box on this page, type ‘regeneration’ into it and hit enter to see our various musings on the subject.)

More importantly, with the Draft Havant Local Plan 2036 moving slowly but inexorably towards adoption, we need to step up the pressure for revision of some of its more bizarre content, notably the exclusion for planning purposes of East Street from the definition of the Town Centre.

The whole of East Street, including the East Pallant Car park, is under threat in the current draft of the Local Plan.  With ‘The Spring going from strength to strength and various new retail and service businesses emerging in East Street against all odds, the decision to remove this part of the historic town centre area from the plan is just plain crazy.  You may already have received a copy of our flyer regarding the car parks through your door, but if got thrown out with the wrapping you can still read it here.  If you use the East Pallant car park and are concerned about the future of East Street, please write to the three ward councillors at the addresses given in the flyer.

The West Street Dominos Pizza application, resubmitted rather cynically over the holiday period will continue to occupy us in the weeks ahead and we’re delighted once again to have the commitment of our ward councillors on the side of reason.

To read our comments on why this site, shown in the aerial view below, is completely unsuitable for the purpose, please take this link to our detailed post on the subject.

39WestStreet

The six ward Councillors on the Development Management Committee on October 18th  rejected the original application unanimously and given that there is no material change to this re-application we should expect the same result.

If you agree with us that this re-submitted application should be refused, please take the time to submit an objection by taking this linkComments must be received by Wednesday 2nd January.

If you’re at a loss for words, feel free to take a look at our own response by taking this link.

To view a summary of all previous articles on this website relating to the applications submitted by Carrell’s for 39 West Street, please take this link.

#rethinkhavant

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Local Plan 2036 – Saving the whale

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve long thought that cetaceans have a more balanced view of their place on the planet than we humans have, but as far as the ‘Local Plan 2036’ goes, we should retain some sense of proportion; Brent geese and Bechstein’s bats are a little lower down the tree than the derelict spaces in the town centre and the traffic congestion, and an awful lot lower down the tree than those desperate for affordable housing in the borough.

At this afternoon’s Cabinet meeting, much time was spent down in the weeds debating the relative importance of geese and bats. Should the Rooks Farm development allocation be removed from the Local Plan to avoid the aggravation of the bats of Long Copse Lane or should the latter allocation be removed from the plan to save upsetting the geese? After a little debate, the sensible conclusion was that these are not the only two highly controversial sites in the Local Plan 2036. There are, as Cllr Hughes articulated clearly, many others.

At one point during the meeting, I was sitting bemused by the debate’s preoccupation with Brent geese and waders, wondering just where the Council tax paying residents fitted in the pecking order. Just then, Cllr Baines queried why the meeting was “spending so much time discussing the needs of geese?”. At last, I thought, back to reality! Sadly, I was mistaken and she went on to suggest that “Bechstein’s bats have just as much entitlement to protection”.

In the end, the Cabinet voted to offer the ‘Pre-submission Local Plan 2036’ unchanged for this evening’s Council meeting to debate and rubber stamp, the general view being that we should all trust the Planning Inspector to do the right thing later in the year. David Hayward did a very efficient job of fielding the points raised by the deputees and the various questions from the Cabinet.

This evening’s Council meeting already has fourteen three-minute deputations to hear and we’ve spared them a fifteenth. Instead we’ll keep our powder dry for the Inspection and try and focus on a high level view of the issues in the context of the wider Havant town centre area.

Talking of high level views, here’s one to think about. Given that the new A27 access to Southleigh is out of the Plan, the Cabinet was told that the access to the Southleigh development area would be from an upgraded Warblington interchange, leading northward to a junction with Barton’s Road.

There’s a fair bit for us all to think about there. Especially the ‘Traffic team’, who as we noted last week need all the help we can contribute.

#rethinkhavant

New! HBC Meetings Diary

Finding it hard to keep up with when the Council and Cabinet are scheduling their public meetings? Well we’ve just made it easier for you!

Take the link to ‘HBC Meetings Diary‘ under ‘Around Havant’ on the main menu and take a look.

Are the Traffic team asleep at the wheel?

This would seem to be the question of the moment (read on).

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that this afternoon’s Development Management Committee meeting passed the planning application for a Domino’s pizza takeaway at the former HSBC site by 4 votes to 2.

(To be fair, if the voting had been restricted to the three members of the panel who actually took part, the application would have been rejected by 2 votes to 1. A fourth member of the committee quite surprised us by explaining how intently she’d read the material before accepting the advice of her daughter on how she should vote. Of the remaining two members of the committee, both of whom remained silent throughout, one appeared to be preoccupied with her phone while the other, rather more worryingly, showed few signs of life).

As we’ve explained before, there was little material change to the content of this re-submitted application other than the inclusion of an appendix which seemed little more than a thinly veiled threat. And therein lays the rub…

Faced with an ongoing appeal and an application for costs, HBC were probably never going to reject this resubmitted application; passing the application would provide the easy way out. Against this background, we can forgive Cllr Pike his faux pas of having inadvertently excluded himself from the agenda since we doubt his input would have made any difference anyway.

Only Cllr Satchwell, who probably now has little to lose, provided a voice of sanity, latterly with Cllr Patrick in support.

[If this editor were writing a match report, which he isn’t, those particular players would have rated 8/10 and 7/10 respectively. The other players would have rated 6/10, 3/10 (generous), 0/10 and 0/10]

So what are we left with?

The obvious result is another fast food takeaway in an entirely unsuitable location. The less obvious result will be a measurable increase in the chaos which descends on Park Road South during peak times. Unless, that is, the council put mandatory road signage up to prevent drivers turning right across two lanes of traffic. It’s already bad enough with the entrances and exits from Bulbeck Road and Burger King. With up to 70 delivery drivers an hour coming into and out of the Domino’s site, yes that’s 140 traffic movements, you can see why the traffic impact will be measurable.

We can see that, so why on earth could not the consultee for ‘Traffic Management, East Hampshire District Council’? Havant Civic Society have raised the relevance of this issue til we’re collectively blue in the face, even emailing the gentleman directly. When we expressed our astonishment tonight that the Traffic Management ‘Team’ had not raised the obvious concerns against the application, the Chairman, with an air of resignation, conceded that he took our point. Cllr Satchwell was rather more forthright.

“In the four years that I’ve been on this planning committee, the number of times objections have been raised by Traffic can be counted on the fingers of one hand!”

It didn’t go unnoticed that absolutely no mention was made in the introduction to this agenda item of the public comments raised against this application. Perhaps with forty* objecting and just four in support, the Chairman felt it would be unhelpful.

If Havant Borough Council hopes to get residents engaged with their much vaunted Regeneration Programme, they need to up their game, cut out the dead wood and fix some processes. Ignoring residents’ views and carrying passengers won’t cut it.

#rethinkhavant – Take this link to join us.

[* 37 objections filed by the planning process as ‘public comments’, plus 3 inexplicably filed under ‘Documents’]

Comment form for the Local Plan 2036

Following publication of the ‘Pre-submission’ version of the ‘Havant Borough Council Local Plan 2036’, we encourage you all to look through this document by taking this link. Don’t be downhearted by the document size, head for page 5 and look through the index which is fully ‘clickable’. Take a look through the areas which interest you and make your own notes.

According to the document, “To respond to the consultation, you must use the Pre-Submission ConsultationForm which is available at http://www.havant.gov.uk/localplan. This should then be emailed to policy.design@havant.gov.uk.”

Unfortunately, we’ve yet to find such a form at that location on the HBC website but will let you know when we do.

In the meantime, if you would like to share your comments with us, please do so by using the form below. Please quote Heading and Paragraph reference – e.g. ‘H2’ and ‘6.15’ in the image below, when using this form to send us a comment on this document.

Please don’t forget to press the submit button above!

Councillors to decide on Havant Borough Local Plan 2036

Havant Borough Council have today circulated details of the ‘Pre-submission’ version of the ‘Local Plan 2036’. The full text of the announcement is quoted below.

(To open or download a copy of the full document, please scroll down to the bottom of this post and press the ‘Download’ button. )

The Havant Borough Local Plan 2036, which sets out how the borough will develop with homes, jobs and infrastructure, will be considered by councillors on Wednesday 30 January at 5.30pm.

At the meeting, councillors will consider the Local Plan and decide if it is ready to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government following the final proposed consultation.

The Local Plan sets out how the Borough of Havant will develop over the next 17 years. It outlines the strategy for ensuring that the growth needed is delivered in the right places and is of the right character and quality. It also ensures that this growth is delivered alongside supporting roads, schools and services such as health, as well as retail, leisure and community facilities.

The Havant Borough Local Plan 2036 includes a number of proposals to meet housing, employment and infrastructure needs for the borough. These include the regeneration of Havant and Waterlooville Town Centres together with Hayling Island Seafront. These are key priority sites in the newly adopted Regeneration Strategy.

The plan also identifies Southleigh – a new community between Emsworth and Denvilles providing up to 2,100 homes – and the provision of 82,780 square metres of employment floorspace to support a population expected to rise by 16,912 during the lifetime of the plan.

The council is aiming to submit its plan to the Secretary of State during summer 2019 to be considered by an independent inspector at an ‘Examination’. The examinations are expected in the winter.

Having an up-to-date Local Plan in place will mean the council can retain influence over where development should be located, rather than being delivered in an ad hoc way as a result of speculative planning applications, sometimes without sufficient benefit to the local communities.

The decisions regarding the Havant Borough Local Plan 2036 follow an extensive preparation period that began in 2016. As part of this, two consultations were held with the local community. Most recently, more than 500 comments (representations) were made during the Draft Local Plan consultation, which was held in 2018. These comments have been collated and analysed. In response to this feedback, the report to Full Council has removed a number of sites previously considered for development and made other changes to the plan.

Councillor Leah Turner, Cabinet lead for Communities, Development and Housing, said: ” The Havant Borough Local Plan 2036 is the strategy that will underpin how we achieve the homes, jobs and infrastructure that our residents require. Crucially, this up-to-date Local Plan will mean we can protect the borough against speculative development and avoid government intervention which could imposed more development than we believe to be sustainable.  

“It has been an extensive process to get to this point. Importantly, we’ve been able to develop the Local Plan with residents’ input. We’ve listened to the feedback from our consultation last year and have made a number of minor changes. These will now go before all council members for a decision.