St Lucy’s Day Lantern Procession and Carols at the Gazebo

Havant Civic Society and St Faith’s Church Lantern Procession and Carols

on St Lucy’s Day, Thursday 13th December at 6.00pm.


Meet at the Pallant House, behind Waitrose, then walk by lantern light to the Gazebo Garden for carols followed by refreshments.

Everyone Welcome
Please bring a lantern

Scrutiny Board, 1 : Southern Water, 0

This afternoon, we went round to the Civic Plaza to sit in the ‘public gallery’ at Havant Borough Council’s Operations and Place Shaping Board.

The Board was conducting a short inquiry into the discharge of sewage effluent into Langstone Harbour.  Representatives of Southern Water Authority (sic) had been invited to attend this session to give evidence and answer questions from members of the Board.

The meeting was introduced and chaired by Cllr Diane Lloyd, who we can report pulled few punches.

Members of the public were also welcome to attend and observe this session and could request to make a deputation to the Board on this matter. Members of our peer groups on Hayling Island, Richard Platt from Hayling Island Residents’ Association and Dave Parham from the Save our Island campaign group both gave well constructed and presented deputations to the Board.

Southern Water Services Ltd [they ceased to be an authority when they were privatised back in 1989] fielded their publicity team of Sam Underwood and Paul Kent. Unfortunately, neither had read the brief and were lamentably unprepared for the level of intelligent questioning that came from both the deputees and the Board.

It may be that they’d done their research and assumed that while the local residents might have done their homework, the council would have remained docile. Not so this evening. Here was the council working at rather more depth than exhibited at last week’s Council meeting. Several of the councillors who made up the panel were observed to ask suitably searching questions of the two representatives of Southern Water, only to be met with a consistent response of ‘I’ll get back to you on that’.

Without going into the detail, we might sum up Southern Water’s attitude as:

  • “We keep telling the  public that they shouldn’t flush ‘wet-wipes and other un-flushables’ down the loo, but they keep doing it.”
  • “We don’t have a policy of preventative maintenance, but we do react (eventually) to foreseeable issues, but only once they’ve been reported.”
  • “We don’t actually have any of those measurements so we can’t actually tell you how much we spilled into the ditches.”
  • “The ditches that carry the effluent that results from our spillages are not our responsibility. Try HBC, HCC, the Highways Agency or (that old get-out) riparian owners.”
  • “We think we know where all our manholes are, but it’s quite possible that Dave did actually find one we weren’t aware of.”
  • “We take full accountability for our kit, and we’re certainly not blaming our customers.  But the fact remains that they’re the ones that who keep flushing wet-wipes down the loo.  Oh, and the people who own the ditches we accidentally discharge into simply don’t maintain the undergrowth.”
  • “You can’t expect us to maintain fallback plans for all of those things that seem to recur with monotonous regularity.”
  • “We’re forward thinking, we plan capacity for growth over a 15 year period”

That last one interests us greatly, given our concerns about the Local Plan 2036 and the increase in number of ‘bums on loos’ in the borough with over eleven thousand houses in prospect. We may just test that statement…

Our SW friends went away, tails down, to regroup and come back to us with some detailed answers. We’ll let you know when we receive them.

As for our representatives on the Council, well they actually impressed this evening. Let’s hope they are as exercised when questioning themselves over the way the Regeneration Programme is going.  We were impressed by Cllr Lloyd’s chairmanship, and also by Cllr Clare Satchell’s and Cllr Joanne Thomas’ questioning.

But then as ward councillors for Hayling East and Hayling West, with residents in the public gallery perhaps that’s only right…

Langstone Stakeholder Working Group meeting Tuesday 13th November 2018

Anna Glanville-Hearson attended from Havant Civic Society, along with David Stratton and the HBC Team, Cllr Tim Pike and attendees from all sections of the Langstone Community including the owner of the Mill House and the Royal Oak.

The contractors present for Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership were AECOM and Flood Control International.

The meeting started with a review of the aims of the project – mainly to accommodate a possible additional 68cm over the current highest (5.4m) tides.

Since the last meeting the HBC Coastal Team has done a habitat survey and a heritage survey.  They have been working with Historic England and found no archaeological remains that would interfere with the programme.

Top line choices were:

  • Do nothing;
  • Do the minimum (reactive repairs as necessary);
  • Maintain (proactive repair without improving)


  • Improve (make footpaths wider, install higher sea walls, demountable barriers, flip-up barriers, walls with glass panels above).

Surveys highlighted that ‘the life of the current defences was less than we thought’ and confirmed the need to improve the defences.

They have looked at a long list of options for each section of the programme following national guidance tailored to the local area. The team showed how the long list reduced down to a shortlist of options for each section of the 4 sections of the programme.

They finally arrived at three improvement options for each of the four frontages of the project:

  1. Mill Lane and Harbourside
  2. Langstone Sailing Club and Spit
  3. Langstone village and coastal path between the Ship and the Royal Oak
  4. The Mill, the Mill Pond and footpath around the Mill Pond (in private ownership but path is maintained by HCC)

The Coastal Team is proposing to get funding from the Government Coastal Defences fund but this will not cover everything.  They also intend to apply for funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy and also the ‘Local Levy’

In an email to Mark Stratton and the team we have suggested a couple of other sources of funding as we think it’s as much a community and leisure access programme as it is a coastal defences programme. Our representative at the meeting has been down there twice lately as part of a large Walking for Health group; thousands of people use the footpaths and the pubs and it is expected to be really busy on Boxing Day!

There are two public exhibitions of the proposals coming up, see our earlier post for details of dates, times and locations.

Regeneration Strategy Approved! No surprise there then

The ‘Opportunity Havant‘ Regeneration Strategy Document first surfaced in public at the Cabinet Meeting on October 24th.  Just two weeks later, it was presented to the full Council this evening and after being proposed by Cllr Pike, questioned by three deputations from the public, seconded by Cllr Wilson and ‘debated’ by the full council, was approved unanimously.

Havant’s much vaunted Regeneration Programme has hit the road running!  Or so you might be led to think…

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. The town where nothing happens. Don’t build your hopes up, despite all the trumpeting about ‘a new interventionist approach’ and ‘using compulsory purchase powers to bring forward schemes, making the required budget available’, it looks like the tumbleweed will be here to stay for at least another five years.

What we saw this evening was certainly not a debate in any accepted sense of the word.

From the editor’s ‘Concise Oxford’, bought at a real bookshop in 1970, at a time when ‘selfie’ would never have been accepted as a noun.

Not once were any of the points raised from the lectern by HCS and the other representatives of the public speaking,  questioned or debated.

1) The Regeneration Programme documentation must be freely available to the press and the public. We see no justification for the exemption of entire documents; redaction of detail where necessary should suffice.

2) The Governance approach is lacking. We expect to see local communities of residents represented at the External Stakeholder level along with the professional communities who provide for our health, education and safety.

3) Phase 1 – i.e the next five years – must deliver tangible benefit in each of the regeneration areas in order to achieve buy in from the community. As published and approved, the only change delivered in that time frame will be on the Civic Plaza site.

Cllr Buckley could have triggered some real debate when he remarked that the most important word in the document was ‘interventionist‘ (it hadn’t been lost on us either).  In his opinion, the new approach would provide a means of empowering the council to do great things, providing the issues of Governance could be understood and grasped.

A deafening silence ensued.

One of our own ward councillors broke her meeting silence only once, raising the important question of whether or not the Mayor’s ceremonial chain of office could be worn if his driver wasn’t present.  Our other ward councillor agreed to investigate and respond.

Bless ’em.



If the content you find here is of interest to you and if you share our desire to make an active and positive contribution to the regeneration of Havant, please consider joining us. The outlay is small but the potential impact our combined voice can have is significant.  Please take this link to view the various membership options available, including a simple online form. 

Langstone Coastal Defence Study – Public drop in events

Havant Civic Society are members of the Langstone Stakeholder Working Group of the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP).

ESCP have sent out an invitation to the upcoming public drop in events for the Langstone Coastal Defence Study in November. This will be an opportunity for them to share with the community the coastal defence options shortlisted for the Langstone frontage and a chance for the community to ask any questions that they might have on the study.

The drop in information events will be taking place on:

  • Tuesday 20th November from 4 – 8 pm at the Langstone Sailing Club.
  • Thursday 22nd November from 6 – 9 pm at The Ship Inn, Langstone.

If you’re interested, do go along!


‘Yarn bombing’ in Havant and Langstone

We are indebted to one of our members for these pictures.  The ‘guerilla knitters’ have been at work and we’re delighted to see such well cultured vandalism in the town centre and surrounding areas. With Havant Civic Society’s self driven regeneration programme including the restoration of town centre listed buildings, including the Gazebo Garden and, with a fair wind, the signal box, it’s lovely to see the Yarn Bombers doing their bit to brighten up the historic town centre for this significant centenary.

We do hope that Havant Borough Council will take a lead from this community and kick start their own Regeneration Programme from its current glacial pace with some urgent projects in the town centre.  They might also take note of our editor’s suspicion that one of the new town centre businesses may just have had some involvement here.

Expect more on the subject of regeneration later.


‘That’ Regeneration Strategy document

OpHavantLast week proved to be an interesting one and this week promises to be no less so.

On October 24th,  Havant Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the publication of Opportunity Havant’ – A Regeneration Strategy for Havant Borough, 2018 – 2036′.  For much of last week, local residents groups were meeting in huddles, active with blue pens and brimming with ‘constructive criticism’ of the work.

If you’ve not already done so, it’s worth reading the document.  If you click on the link  above it will open in a new browser window so you can review it  alongside these notes.

Here’s our ‘boiled down’ précis of the content, section by section. “Text in quotation marks and coloured thus” is taken directly from the document, occasionally underlined by us for emphasis. “Text in quotation marks in this colour” has been paraphrased by us, the rest is our editorial comment.


“This strategy sets out the economic case and opportunities for regeneration in Havant Borough. It highlights the key areas where direct targeted intervention will have the greatest impact and states what the Council will do over the next eighteen years to deliver regeneration – including governance, funding and resourcing.

The Delivery Plan then sets out the actions (including approvals, funding and project planning) that will be required to facilitate the delivery of phase 1 from 2018 to 2024.”

The document structure is confusing, so in the absence of heading numbers we’re grouping the rest of the document as indented below:


Economic Development

“Havant Borough sits in a prosperous part of the South East of England with an affluent population/catchment and a high demand for housing. [but due to a variety of factors there has been]… a prolonged lack of investment in renewal in the Borough.”

“To break this cycle councils are beginning to realise that they will need to take a more interventionist approach. By directly driving and investing in regeneration projects councils have been able to halt or reverse decline and create conditions more attractive for private sector investment. The new political leadership at Havant Borough Council has signalled a clear ambition to drive forward the regeneration of the borough and have recognised that this will need to be adequately resourced.

Havant Borough Council has recognised and progressed the need for an active interventionist approach to regeneration.”

Housing Challenges

“To meet the housing challenges, the economic base of the borough is a key focus to sustain the wealth to take the area into the future.”

In other words, we’ve got to drive inward investment, push local wages up and stimulate the premium housing market while at the same time providing  affordable homes for 1,800 people on the housing list.

Economic Challenges

“Havant workers are lower paid, have lower skills and a lower value of role than the average for the South East.  More people commute out of the borough to work than commute into the borough to work.”

The Opportunities

“Havant Borough has a wealth of strategically and regionally important natural and economic assets that make it a prime location for investment”

A statement of the obvious which simply begs the question ‘why have we not exploited it yet?’

Key Issues & Objectives

An interesting section which, to our mind, is full of questionable ‘issues’, for example on the ‘reduction of Town Centre Retail vs Portsmouth’.  Given the overall success of Solent Road and the recent cautious growth of innovative small businesses in the ‘old’ town centre, we think the authors are not in touch with current trends on Havant’s retail frontage.


“There are five key regeneration areas in the borough:

1) Havant Town Centre (including the Civic Campus)

2) Havant Strategic Employment Sites (Brockhampton West, Langstone Technology Park & Dunsbury Park)

3) Hayling Island Seafront (West Beach, Beachlands, Eastoke, Southwood Road, Ferry Point & improved access)

4) Leigh Park Centre

5) Waterlooville Town Centre

There is a need to improve access to the focal areas on Hayling Island. This will drive visitor numbers and increase viability of attractions.”

Regeneration Programme

“A schedule of projects has been developed in the five key development areas. This list makes up the Regeneration Programme. This programme is a separate, dynamic document setting out the details of individual projects including some which are commercially sensitive. The delivery of the projects on the Regeneration Programme will be progressed in a way that is focussed on the objectives of this strategy…”


PHASE 1 (2018 – 2024) Quick wins, sites entirely in HBC ownership & opportunities for income generation

PHASE 2 (2024 – 2030) More complex longer term projects

PHASE 3 (2030 – 2036) Aspirational projects that are more challenging, or where market conditions are less favourable”

The Vision

Pages 12 and 13 of the document contain the visionary statements which have had many of the local groups most exercised.  There are six of them, one for each of the five key regeneration areas listed above.  Wait…. six?  Yes, the sixth relates to the ‘Civic Plaza Area’, conveniently listed earlier with ‘Havant Town Centre’.  The reason for this appears simple, in the first five years of the Regeneration Programme, the only site where action might be visible will be somewhere on the car park of the Civic Plaza, where we might expect to see 100 new houses.

We won’t see any change in our parts of the borough before 2025.

By all means read the text in those blue boxes, but do please have the salt nearby…


Picking out a few key word and phrases:

“Interventionist “
“flexible policies that adapt to our rapidly changing society”
“Integrate regeneration into the Corporate Strategy for whole council focus”
“Borrow to Invest”
“Pump priming”
“Where necessary the Council will utilise its Compulsory Purchase Powers to bring forward schemes and will make the required budget available. This will give greater certainty over delivery of the Regeneration Programme.”

We do like that last one (it’s on Page 14).


And here it is again (repeated verbatim on Page 15) as if to reinforce the fact that they’re obviously serious about it.

“Where necessary the Council will utilise its Compulsory Purchase Powers to bring forward schemes and will make the required budget available . This will give greater certainty over delivery of the Regeneration Programme.”


“We’ve already engaged the architects of Berewood to produce some impressive CGI visualisations of what this might look like.”


“Havant Borough Council is not a commercial developer and as such does not have the breadth of skills and depth of resource required to carry forward such an ambitious regeneration programme.”

In other words, we’re going to have a ‘resourcing challenge’.

Governance & Management

A dull heading perhaps but activities critical to the delivery of such a complex programme of work.  Summarised in a few bullets and a ‘Governance Structure’  chart.

You might wonder why the ‘External Stakeholders’ box is so large and so vacant.  If you do, read our response to the document.Regeneration Programme Governance - 1

Appendix A – Economic Evidence Base

A few tables giving the evidence behind the suggestion in the document that “Havant workers are lower paid, have lower skills and a lower value of role than the average for the South East.”

That’s it, in a nutshell.  Our response will follow shortly.


If the content you find here is of interest to you and if you share our desire to make an active and positive contribution to the regeneration of Havant, please consider joining us. The outlay is small but the potential impact our combined voice can have is significant.  Please take this link to view the various membership options available, including a simple online form.