New and revised applications linking East Street to The Pallant

Updated 29/10/2020 – Clarification of ‘supported living‘ application.

Just like buses, planning applications sometimes come in threes. One last week and two this week are worth considering together since between them they cover the missing link between the derelict frontages in East Street and the derelict frontage in the Pallant.

The common factors here are the local architect Peter Galloway Partnership, a practice which has clearly been busy over the last few weeks and months and the developer, which is ‘P & N Developments and Investments‘, operating under different company names from their Penner Road address.

Since there are rather a lot of drawings to look at, we’ve pulled out some of the details in this post.

While outside taking these rather badly stitched pictures in the rain this morning, I got talking with a local property owner whose vision had once been to convert this gap into “something attractive like ‘The Lanes at Brighton'”. Now that’s not really so very far fetched as an aspiration.

Sadly, in these sad days of ludicrous government housing targets and rather myopic local authorities, a few more ‘not quite’ shoe-box homes is what you’re inevitably going to see here.

Two more of the long running eyesore gaps in our town centre frontages, on the left, in East street, and on the right, in the Pallant, are the subject of three planning applications lodged in the past week.

On the slide below, East Street is on the left and the Pallant is on the right. The three numbered red rectangles show the rough site of each application which we’ll look at in turn, from right to left starting in the Pallant.

Application 1

The first application, APP/20/00913 is for “Demolition of existing buildings in a conservation area and erection of 2 No. 3 bed houses, 1 No. 1 bed apartment and 1 No. 2 bed maisonette.”

This includes demolition of the old Prince George Gallery, the single story picture framing studio and the former Streets kitchenware shop to its left. In their place, providing an entrance to the rest of the site, is this proposed frontage.

It looks tidy enough and the layout shown here shows two end-terrace houses joined by a ground floor flat and a 2 bed maisonette over three floors. In these drawings, The Pallant is on the right hand side, with the properties behind the frontage accessed via the arch beneath the ‘Guest bedroom’ on the first floor. Click the image to view larger.

Since it’s likely that vehicle access to all three of these developments will be via The Pallant, traffic in that road will increase very slightly. We say slightly, because there are only 4 parking spaces available for the twenty housing units proposed. Most residents are assumed to be using bicycles, buses or Shanks’ pony.

Construction traffic will prove to be a temporary issue, though it’s possible that much of the heavy delivery loads could be craned over from the Bear Hotel car park.

To view the main drawing as a PDF file, please take this link.

Take this link to view the full details of this application on the HBC Planning access site.

To comment on this application, take this link. You have until Friday November 13 to submit your comments.

Application 2

APP/20/00935 –  Erection of 6 No. 3 bed dwellings, with 4 No. car parking spaces at 11 East Street.

The second application is for a row of 6 town houses, with three bedrooms each and sharing just four car parking spaces. These houses will be accessed via the arch at The Pallant from the previous application.

It’s not clear why Peter Galloway has shown these frontages with six synchronised dancers on the doorsteps, but hey, we’ll call it ‘architectural licence’.

These frontages face west, with the backs of the properties overlooking the wall into the Bear Hotel car park. To all intents and purposes, unless you go through the archway in The Pallant, which I suspect will be gated, you’ll never actually see these townhouses.

Click the image to view the floorplans a little larger. Suffice to say, at 90m2 for a three bed, three story town house, they are perhaps a little cosy.

To view the larger drawing, including the other elevations, please take this link.

Take this link to view the details of this application on the HBC Planning access site.

To comment on this application, take this link. You have until Friday November 13 to submit your comments.

Application 3

APP/20/00933 – Demolition of existing retail unit (no. 9 East Street) and construction of 10 no. supported living units, use Class C2, 9 East Street

The last application, fronting East Street, is for number 9 East Street – the frontage adjoining Streets, in the middle of this drawing.

Use class C2 is for a ‘Residential Institution’ and looking at the Developer‘s company records, we assume that the operator is likely to be Dolphin Homes, registered as providing support for residents with ‘learning difficulties, challenging behaviour, physical disabilities and complex health needs, autism and Asperger’s syndrome’ who already run other properties in the area.

While the need for this type of ‘care in the community’ is not disputed, individual residents will have their own views on whether or not this is the best use for what should be a prime town centre property or whether, indeed, it’s the most appropriate location for the intended residents themselves. Within Havant Borough, Havant town already provides a fair share of such facilities and perhaps now other towns within the borough ought to be stepping up to the plate.

Supported Living flats, 9 East Street

The ten flats are spread across four floors, with associated support offices, visitor accommodation and shared social areas. Click on the floor plans to zoom in to the detail.

Take this link to view the details of this application on the HBC Planning access site.

To comment on this application, take this link. You have until Friday November 13 to submit your comments.

As a last word to the applicant, since Nitrate Calculations are now the ‘flavour of the month‘, a little more attention to detail might be good. We’d also question the maths. Surely, given the fact that half of these are single bedroom flats, the average population of all twenty of these housing units can’t really be 2.4? Oh, and your use of ‘Comic Sans’ as a font hasn’t gone unnoticed. Perhaps this is just your way of suggesting that this nitrate mitigation approach is, after all, a bit of a joke?!

(Yes, I know the next image is a repeat, but it’s only here because the default image that Facebook picks up is the last one in the post. Sigh…..)

Retail secrets – My Yarnery

An unashamed plug for one of our wonderfully resilient niche independent retail shops. Forced to close by the lack of space in South Street to operate in a ‘Covid-safe’ manner, it looks like the folk at MyYarnery have now found a new – and highly individual – retail premise. Tucked away behind the old Clarks Shoe shop, they hope to open soon.

#rethinkhavant – Shop locally!

Havant Borough Council – Quote of the day

“Noted [14 times], however reasons why the work may be proposed is not a consideration which can be taken into account when dealing with a Section 211 notice.”

Yes indeed, Portsmouth Water are now free to employ out of town tree surgeons to clear branches and fell trees in what looks suspiciously like a pre-emptive clearance for a development project that still hasn’t been brought before planning.

They might at least have agreed to employ some of the many decent, hard working tree surgeons who live in and around the town.

Yet another delegated decision by Havant Borough Council despite the genuine concerns raised by owners of the neighbouring properties, staff at the Bosmere Medical Centre and other Havant residents.

If you wrote to object, you’ll find the council’s rather dismissive response to your concern in this document.

And we thought that a Section 211 notice applied to the preservation of trees. Silly us.

#rethinkhavant

Havant’s ‘Healthy Borough’ or Fortitudo’s ‘Healthy Profit’?

We’ve been looking a little harder at the old Southern Electric site on the corner of Petersfield Road and Bartons Road.

Poole based developer Fortitudo Properties, have their sights set on building another McDonalds and another Costa Coffee on what really ought to be a northern gateway to Havant Town Centre.

It seems that even before they applied for planning permission for the container stack on the site, they had already agreed a new 25 year lease with McDonalds at a rental of £105,000 per year. With Costa, they’d already agreed a 15 year lease at £78,000 a year. At the same time, they’ve offered both companies a 6 month rent free period as an incentive.

It looks like they’ll also be offering the buyers of the flats £500 towards their legal fees and a £1,000 John Lewis or IKEA voucher.

If you’re wondering where this comes from, it’s buried in the ‘Viability Assessment‘ accompanying the planning application, the best bits of which you can read here)

Now given that there are already two McDonalds within healthy walking distance, 38 minutes to Larchwood Road and 26 minutes to West Street according to Google, we hope that HBC will take note of what they themselves have written in their own Healthy Borough Assessment. (We’ve been here before, haven’t we?)

The maths is simple, in just over five years, Fortitudo will have recouped their costs on both fast food outlets and will be turning in a healthy profit to take back to Sandbanks at the cost of the health of Havant Borough residents.

Fortitudo wouldn’t have got away with it in Poole so we don’t expect Havant Borough Council to roll over on this one.

As that regeneration banner on Park Road South says – “Have Pride in Havant”.

If you want to make a comment on this planning application, please click this link and complete the online form. Comments must be received at the council by Friday October 30th.

If you would like to support Havant Civic Society, please click here.

#rethinkhavant

The very thin end of a very large Portsmouth Water wedge

[Updated, 15/10/2020]

We have a soft spot for trees. We also have a soft spot for green spaces. We also understand that Havant’s tree canopy is, at best, poor by national standards. In a world where the value of trees and the importance of the tree canopy to the overall health of the community is increasingly understood and valued, it’s worth checking out the seemingly innocuous planning applications for tree work.

Portsmouth Water currently have a planning application for proposed works to trees in a the Brockhampton conservation area. On closer reading, this one is undoubtedly a precursor to a series of planning applications for extensive redevelopment of the entire Portsmouth Water site, including the building of new industrial premises and a large tranche of 135 dwellings.

The current planning application details the works to be carried out on a number of trees around the Brockhampton Spring, behind the Portsmouth Water offices in West Street. The plan of works may be unreadable here, but if you click the image, the detailed plan will open and you can zoom in.

If you’ve not quite figured out where this is, it’s the area covered by the yellow rectangle on this image, with the Bosmere Medical Centre, M&S and Next at the bottom.

The detail of the work being proposed looks like straightforward maintenance of existing woodland:

Trees 2, 3 and 4 (all Ash)Crown lift all round to provide 3.0m ground level clearance
Tree 10 (Wingnut) – Crown lift all round to provide 4.0m ground level clearance
Tree 11 (Willow) – Fell Dead trunk
Tree 18 (Lime) – Crown lift on the southern to provide 3.0m ground level clearance
Trees 22 and 23 (Lime) – Crown lift on the southern to provide 3.0m ground level clearance
Tree 24 (Ash x2) – Fell to ground level
Trees 25 and 26 (Willow) – Dead trees – fell
Tree 27 (Ash) – Fell
Grp 1 (Elder and Hawthorn) coppice at ground level”

Now it might seem that Portsmouth Water appear to be taking the health of their trees seriously, but the reality is rather more sinister. When we first looked at this one, we were distracted by the trees and didn’t see the wood, so to speak. Having now been gently reprimanded by a reader, we’ve taken a deeper look and would encourage you to read the fine print in that planning application. To help you, we’ve cut it out and you can see it by clicking this image.

The references to fencing and the need to accommodate heavy machinery to remove a culvert suggest strongly that this is indeed the first real planning application to emerge since we reported on the Development Consultation Forum relating to the proposed new Portsmouth Water HQ site almost exactly a year ago.

Given the position of the site in the Brockhampton Conservation area, we look to Havant Borough Council to take a proactive role here, defining an extended arboricultural plan for the entire site, preserving and extending the natural cover provided by this valuable local asset as a pre-requisite to all future development activity in the conservation area.

There is a much bigger picture that really should be considered. The portfolio of changes proposed by Portsmouth Water is far reaching, including the building of a new HQ building and new industrial premises immediately to the north and west of the Bosmere Medical Centre, and the construction of up to 135 dwellings on the the remainder of the land formerly occupied by the current West Street headquarters buildings.

These development plans, for various demolition, construction and landscaping works, will be drip fed into the planning system by the landowner, each in isolation. Common sense dictates that an overall master-plan should be documented, consulted on and approved to fully assess the cumulative impact of these plans on residents, the Bosmere medical centre, the town centre traffic and the environment.

We will be making this point clear in our response and strongly objecting to this planning application until such time as a master plan for the site is available for public scrutiny. If you want to make your own comment on this application, please take this link and complete the comment form.

Comments must be submitted before Tuesday October 27th.

#rethinkhavant

That Planning Reform debate…

There were some excellent contributions from a wide variety of backbenchers – notably mostly from the same side as our own Alan Mak MP. Having read with interest the submission that he put his name to, we were looking forward to his contribution to the debate, a summary of which can be found in today’s Grauniad.

If you have 5 hours and 40 minutes to spare, you can watch it here on iPlayer for the next 29 days. If you want to skip the last 5 hours, you might just be in good company.

The Speaker kicked things off with a warning that since so many back bench MPs wanted to speak in depth about their constituency’s concerns, each would be limited to four minutes. Now there are a lot of important points about Havant’s housing concerns that could be voiced in four minutes by a dedicated MP so we settled down to watch.

Bob Seely, from our neighbouring Isle of Wight constituency, started the debate in eloquent style, with our man waiting eagerly for his chance (top left).

It was rather unfortunate that Bob Seely’s proposal was interrupted unnecessarily at times by other MPs clearly seeking selfies for their constituency blogs before heading for an early exit.

Then just thirty minutes into the debate, we note that our man had moved down beside Phillip Hollobone (Con. Kettering) and is seen here adjusting his tie before his own stage entrance.

Exactly 32 minutes into the debate, Philip Hollobone politely gives way and our man gets to his feet to use all of 12 seconds to tell the house that his ‘constituency of Havant has areas of high urbanisation and areas of environmental sensitivity’.

Here’s the clip. We catch Phillip Hollobone half way through his considered contribution, including the 12 seconds in the middle where our MP makes what might have been his sole mark on the debate*.

A few short minutes later and poor old Bob Seely looks remarkably short of support from this part of Hampshire.

* For the avoidance of doubt, We’d be grateful if somebody could watch the whole five hours and forty minutes of the debate at the link at the top of this post and let us know the time at which Alan Mak returns to make his full four minute contribution. We’ll then update this post for all to see.

Update: We’ve checked Hansard and those were indeed the only words spoken by him.

#rethinkhavant

The Bartons Road Southern Electric site is aiming for the architectural wooden spoon

For those of you wondering what was under consideration for the Bartons Road / Petersfield Road former Southern Electric site, all has been revealed in this week’s planning list.

Click on the image to get the idea. That’s another McDonalds and a ‘Drive-thru’ Costa at the top of the site, entrance from Bartons Road, with 191 mostly one bedroom flats in four six story blocks. (Well, we think it’s Bartons Road, even though the plan has it shown as ‘Petersfield Road’!)

Architectural beauties they are not, unless dockside container stacks float your boat. Still, it will help to get those housing numbers up and will enable HBC to trade a few of the Warblington Farm nitrate credits with the developer, although we note that there’s no nitrate assessment included with the application. We also note that these flats squeeze in at just 3m2 bigger than the newly proposed minimum floor area, but even so we still wonder just who are the intended occupants?

We’ve only had a quick look so far but the figure of 2% of occupants ‘working from home’ might seem a little out of date.

A matching two story McDonalds.

And a ‘drive thru’ Costa!

If you want to make a comment on this planning application, please click this link and complete the online form. Comments must be received at the council by October 22nd.

If you would like to support Havant Civic Society, please click here.

#rethinkhavant

Southern Water – ‘Performance Status Red- significantly below target’

On Friday October 2nd, the Environment Agency published their long awaited ‘Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) results 2019 for water and sewerage companies’ document and the results don’t make for happy reading for Solent area residents.

Click on the chart if you want to zoom in on the detail of why Southern Water have just been revealed as the poorest performing water company in the country.

The full Environmental Performance Assessment for 2019 is available here.

September Digest – A ‘perfect storm’ warning?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the website, you’ll be aware of the staggering amount of change happening around us.  If you haven’t, then please take the time to follow the links in this email to read more detail.  While the primary focus of the Civic Society is on the centre of the town around St Faith’s, we cannot ignore the wider context of the borough and the length of this email simply reflects the fact that there is an awful lot going on.

The current pandemic has changed the way we work, shop, meet, communicate and use public transport and some of that change may well be permanent. Nobody can sensibly predict the impact that this dramatic change in circumstance will have on the profile of Havant’s residential and business communities. Central and local government are not making life any easier either, threatening a ‘perfect storm’ of change, much of it firmly rooted in pre-Covid, now obsolete, thinking.

The house building target of 504 homes per year from the ‘Havant Borough Local Plan to 2037’ was torpedoed in August by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government white paper on ‘Planning for the Future’. The updated ‘housing need’ algorithm jacked up the Havant number by an astonishing 91% to 937 homes per year. CPRE has been leading the charge against this unprecedented escalation of housing targets in the south, and bowing to pressure from the residents’ groups which make up the Havant Borough Residents’ Alliance, Havant Borough Council has finally seen the light, executing a handbrake turn and pushing back against the white paper just hours before the consultation deadline yesterday.

Meanwhile, European legislation on ‘nitrogen neutral’ development triggered a moratorium on new development approvals in the region this year. This EU directive provided protection for the environmental and ecological health of the Solent which is in serious decline due to the levels of agricultural and wastewater sourced nitrate laden pollutants flowing into it.  For a housing plan to be approved, a developer must prove no net increase in the pollution entering the Solent from their site.

Desperate to clear the planning and development log-jam and meet the increasingly unrealistic house building targets, HBC and other Solent area local authorities jumped on the ‘re-wilding’ bandwagon stitched together by Natural England and the Wildlife Trust.  Touted as a ‘win-win’ solution for the charity, the developers and the local authorities alike, the reality is that it is based on a convenient and selective interpretation of science with the main losers being the residents and the wildlife. Warblington Farm will evolve into a wildlife sanctuary over time as HBC calls off areas of the agricultural land to ‘re-wild’ and generate nitrate credits to sell on to the likes of Persimmon Homes. The government’s proposed online ‘nitrate trading’ auction platform will surely only accelerate this process.

In the midst of all this, HBC are charging headlong into an ever closer union with East Hants District Council. The executive and senior management layers of the two authorities merged a while ago, but we are concerned that the recent decision to move to a single combined workforce will have an adverse impact on the morale of the staff and the quality of the services delivered to you. With the council’s call centre sited in Coventry and services managed from Petersfield, the future doesn’t look too bright for us.

The depression at the centre of this perfect storm is deepening while political eyes are off the climate change ball.  Predictable change in the integrity of the coastal margins should be ringing warning bells against increased housing development in some southern parts of the borough anyway. With central and local government budgets stretched, the cost of local coastal defence strategies may not always remain justifiable.

With so much change – and we’ve not even mentioned Brexit – we believe HBC should stop and take stock of the pre-Covid foundations underpinning previously published ‘strategies’ before this all ends in tears.

Please take the time to read and digest the website links in this email.  As HBC adopts their new ‘Digital’ strategy with the emphasis on remote online communication, we will endeavour to keep you up to date through our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds, and the occasional email.

If you didn’t receive this recently as an email, then you’re not on our mailing list! To fix that, simply take this link and join us.

#rethinkhavant

Tiny flats to be banned under new planning rules

In another government outbreak of sanity, following on from our piece on Shoebox living, we’re pleased to notice in the Times today that the government is now planning to clamp down on this abuse of Permitted Development rules.

Interestingly, the new minimum space requirement will be 37 m2 for a one bedroom flat, meaning that the Prince George Street development behind the North Street Arcade just about squeezes in. The flats already for sale at the former Trentham art gallery on the other side of the road, at 30 m2, don’t though. Hmmm.

Full text of the Times article follows:

“Developers will be blocked from creating tiny flats in former office buildings dubbed the “slums of the future” after the government announced that it would impose minimum size requirements.

A relaxation in planning rules in 2013 paved the way for office blocks to be converted into thousands of flats without any space standards. Some landlords exploited the freedoms to build minuscule, sub-standard flats with limited access to natural light that were often used by councils to house children and vulnerable adults.

Times investigation last year revealed that landlords were making millions from flats as small as one third of the minimum required under normal planning rules.

Families have been squeezed into noisy, mould-ridden bedsits built on industrial estates and alongside busy roads. Some developments had no outside windows while in one case a developer lodged plans to convert a ground-floor office into flats measuring 8.3 sq m and 9 sq m, smaller than a standard parking space.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said that permitted development rights were helping to deliver new homes and that “most developers deliver good homes and do the right thing”.

He said he was “tackling the minority of developers abusing the system by announcing that new homes delivered will have to meet space standards”.

Minimum space standards, which require at least 37 sq m for a one-bed, one-person flat and 61 sq m for a two-bed flat for three people, will now apply to conversions carried out under permitted development rules.

The government will use secondary legislation to make the change, although a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government declined to say when this would be.

A report commissioned by the government which was belatedly released this year found that 78 per cent of flats built under permitted development rules did not meet minimum space standards.

Ben Clifford, who led the team of independent academics who wrote the report, said that “most of the permitted development schemes we saw were significantly below” minimum space standards and were “cell-like” in size.

He said that 60,000 flats had been built under permitted development rights, meaning that there was already “a huge volume of really tiny flats that we’re stuck with and may be dealing with the consequences of for some time”.

Nevertheless, he said that it was a “welcome announcement”, particularly before a possible increase of office conversions as the coronavirus pandemic has led many companies to encourage staff to work from home.

The government made changes this year to require homes built under permitted development rights to provide adequate natural light.

Alan Jones, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, welcomed the change.

“The government has done the right thing by closing this dangerous loophole and ensuring new permitted development housing across England will have adequate space and light — standards that should be a given,” he said.

Fiona Howie, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association, said that it was a “positive step” that “along with the earlier announcement requiring homes to have access to natural light, will hopefully prevent the very worst homes coming through permitted development rights”.

She said further action was needed to ensure that homes were built in suitable locations and with access to outdoor space.

“We have seen families being forced to live in the middle of industrial estates, where the only place for children to play is car parks,” she said.

The association is calling for legislation to set basic standards for healthy homes.

The government is expanding permitted development rights to allow two-storey extensions on blocks of flats and detached buildings and the change is to be debated in the Commons.

Some Conservative MPs — particularly those in suburban London constituencies — have expressed concern over plans to allow two-storey extensions to be added to homes and tower blocks without planning permission.”