Pictures from Havant’s ‘locked down’ VE-Day celebrations

We’re collecting your pictures of the muted but lovely VE Day celebrations. If you’d like to make your own contributions, send your photo by email to this address and we’ll add them.

Emergency Service Contacts

Please only use the 999 service for cases of absolute emergency.

At this time, contacting the 111 service via the website by taking the link on the left will probably give speedier results given high call volumes.

At this time, contacting the 101 service via the website by taking the link on the left will probably give speedier results given high call volumes. Take the ‘Report’ option on the home page to report any incident.

Gazebo Garden – Still open for fresh air and gentle exercise!

We have set up a rota for opening the Gazebo Garden (located at the far end of East Pallant car park) every day 10am – 4pm so that anyone, particularly those without gardens, have a pleasant place to go to in the town centre to get some fresh air.

Children are welcome under supervision and can chase each other round the herb beds or run up and down the steps while you relax on one of the stone benches with a book.

With three widely spaced benches and a few chairs out, there’s enough space in the garden for a maximum of half a dozen to sit and relax and keep their social distance. Please respect that number and make way for somebody else if there are others looking for a time in this peaceful space.

‘Message in a Bottle’ – Help for the vulnerable

A few years ago, these green labels were a common sight in local residential properties occupied by older and more vulnerable folk. The idea was simple. A sticker similar to that above was placed within clear sight of the front door, guiding emergency services entering the property to the refrigerator in the kitchen of the property. Inside the door of the fridge they would find a bottle containing a paper giving all the relevant emergency contact details for the resident.

The scheme is well understood by Police, Ambulance and Fire Service staff, and in the past has proved a life saver giving speedy access to important emergency information in the event that a resident is unable to provide the information through incapacity.

Given the current emergency and the significant pressure on the emergency services, HCS have recreated the ‘Message in a bottle’ scheme with a simplified, but nonetheless effective form downloadable by clicking the image on the right.

This is a simple form in two parts. When printed, the top part should be completed by the resident and placed in a glass jar or tumbler inside the door of their refrigerator. The bottom part of the form should be placed in a prominent position within sight of the front door of their house.

If you are living on your own and worried about how the emergency services would know those small but important things should they have to come and assist you, you might decide to print a copy down, fill it in and find an empty jam jar.

More importantly, you might consider printing a few down and dropping them through the doors of your more vulnerable neighbours.

It’s an old idea but it could just be a life saver.

#rethinkhavant

No face mask? Why not make one if you need one.

This comes with a message of caution since at the time of writing, the chief medical officer is advising the UK public not to wear facemasks unless they are currently infected with covid-19.

Skilled with a needle or wondering when you last used that sewing machine? Pondering what you could do with all those unused cotton tea towels you were given as gifts? Look no further! Make yourself a distinctive face mask following these instructions, which were published in the New York Times on March 31st.

If you download and print the instructions in that link, you should find it a straightforward task which might help pass some the time during your voluntary ‘house arrest’.

You’ll need the following:

  • Needle and thread (and a sewing machine, if you have one).
  • Scissors.
  • Pins or clips to hold fabrics in place (safety pins and paper clips will also work in a pinch).
  • At least 20 by 20 inches of 100 percent cotton fabric, such as a flat tea towel.
  • 4 strips of cotton fabric for ties, about 18” long and ¾” wide (or 4 flat, clean shoelaces or a few lengths of sewing elastic.
  • Magnifying glass for reading the instructions once you’ve printed them!

Going on a Bear Hunt?

Here’s something to keep the kids amused while you escort them round the streets of the town for their daily exercise in their brand new face masks. More particularly perhaps, for those of us older folk who see familes walking past our drives and remember just how difficult it could be keeping our own kids amused when small.

The idea appears to have originated in New Zealand and provides a bit of fun in these dark times. Get the kids to count all the bears they see staring longingly from bedroom windows during their self isolation. There are a few around already, even in our editor’s spare bedroom window.

#BearHunt

‘Treat your Skin’ move to West Street

We note in the most recent planning application list that local business Treat Your Skin have applied for a Change of Use licence at the former YourMove estate agent office in West Street.

Let’s hope that the current state of the economy enables them to continue with this proposal.

Campdown – A development proposal that's wrong on so many levels…

The Campdown development application for the site east of College Road, west of the A3(M) and bordering Crookhorn, brings into focus many of the challenges that must be faced if the Havant Regeneration Programme is to succeed. Conservation of heritage sites, buildings and infrastructure provides a sense of identity and continuity in a fast changing world. Understanding how places change, and recognising the significance of their history, is the key to successful and sustainable regeneration.

Campdown is a green-field site of both ecological and archaeological significance, allocated in the currently adopted plan for ‘recreation or leisure’.  The pre-submission Local Plan 2036 changes this allocation to ‘mixed use, up to 560 homes, shops and sports facilities’, removing the protection currently afforded.  This change in allocation reflects the sad reality that planning policy is increasingly driven by the need to achieve questionable targets for ‘five year housing supply’ imposed by central government.

As a development plan relating to a land allocation that has not yet been passed by the Planning Inspector, this speculative planning application is like several others within the borough, including the Forty Acres site recently approved, and Havant Borough Council are duty bound to decide such applications within a statutory period. 

In our view, the Campdown development site should never have been included in the 2036 Local Plan and we have some confidence that the change of allocation for Campdown will eventually be overturned when the pre-submission Local Plan is reviewed by the Inspector later this year.

Given the summary of ‘Opportunities and Constraints’ relating to the Campdown site included in the pre-submission local plan, Havant Borough Council shouldn’t be surprised at the strength of objections received.

The application submitted by Persimmon Homes, is for a total of 780 homes, representing a 40% increase in the proposed allocation for a green-field site of archaeological significance. A buried Roman villa in the northern part of the site is already designated as a scheduled monument while to the south; a Neolithic long barrow and a mediaeval cemetery are known to exist.  The site is also an important grazing site for the Brent Geese and Curlew of the Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Area (SPA), an internationally important wetland. 

While our primary objection is that this application is contrary to the current adopted development plan we support the many important objections already raised by more august bodies, notably:

Havant Police, commenting as a mandatory consultee, note with resignation that:  “This development is opposite the Crookhorn Estate, an area with relatively high levels of acquisitive crime and anti-social behaviour. It is a challenging area to police.” We can’t help feeling that the extension of that estate by 780 homes, bounded by a motorway, a fenced golf course and a fenced college premises would be increasing that level of challenge to an unacceptable extent for an already overstretched force.

We are concerned that HBC will view the promise of 780 homes as ‘too good an opportunity to miss’, particularly if the greenfield status might be used to help to alleviate the issue of nitrate neutrality that would otherwise block any decision to develop on a brownfield site.

With the planning consultation period ending on Friday Feb 14th, we are registering our objections and urging Havant Borough Council to reject, or at the very least defer, this application.

If you agree with us and wish to register your objection to this application, please take this link and fill in the form.

Simples!

#rethinkhavant

Campdown – From the perspective of the waders and Brent Geese

We’ve received the following report from Jim Graham – winter wader and Brent Goose recorder at Campdown since 2012:

“The UK may be about to be separated from Europe politically but bird interest groups from both sides of the English Channel are united in their fight to save fields vitally important to over-wintering waders and geese; see objection letters from the RSPB, International Wader Study Group, Global Flyway Network and many others on Havant Council’s planning page.  Every year thousands of shorebirds fly down the East-Atlantic Flyway from northern Europe to spend the winter in food-rich harbours and estuaries along the south coast of England.

Havant Borough Council, along with many other local authorities in the south, have been told by the Government to build thousands of new homes, in Havant’s case more than 11,000, by the year 2036. Havant is a relatively small borough just 21.4 square miles in area but it includes internationally protected shorelines around Hayling Island, Chichester Harbour and Langstone Harbour.

This Government pressure has forced HBC to consider allowing development on land that has up till now been deemed sacrosanct .  What has got ornithologists in fighting mood is the proposal by developer Persimmon to build 780 new dwellings on green fields south of South Downs College between College Road, Crookhorn and the A3M motorway.

View looking south east from above South Downs College. The A3(M) motorway can be seen leading south towards Langstone Harbour in the distance. There are also plans to build 97 houses on the college car park shown in the foreground.  [Google Earth image.]

Most of the land proposed for development is an important site for wintering wildfowl and waders, specifically Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Branta bernicla bernicla) and Curlew (Numenius arquata).

The site includes fields identified within the Solent Waders & Brent Goose Strategy as Primary and Secondary sites of importance to feeding Brent Geese & Curlew, i.e. study fields H02A, H125, H106 and H113. The wet grassland at these sites currently supports populations of approximately 150 Curlew and up to 300 Brent Geese. Historically these numbers were much higher. It is wholly conceivable that, in colder winters, numbers of these birds would increase again as birds are forced to move here from more northerly parts of Europe. Whilst these areas of the application land are not directly within the harbour complex, they are a vital part of the wider eco-system and provide valuable, undisturbed feeding sites close to the harbour, especially (though not exclusively) during the high tide period. With rising sea levels it may not be possible to defend low lying nature reserves such as Farlington Marshes in which case inland support areas like Campdown will become even more important than they currently are.

The Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Area (SPA) is an internationally important wetland, both Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Curlew are specifically listed as qualifying features of that SPA. There must be, there is, a duty to protect those features.

Designated sites such as SPA and SSSIs cannot maintain wildlife populations on their own there have to be buffer strips, alternative feeding and roosting sites. Sites that allow for the vagaries of climate such as storm surges, flooding and disturbance factors. Mitigation sites must be equally appropriate and resilient. One field is not the same as another. The land at Campdown is used by these birds because it provides the right feeding conditions, available food with minimal disturbance. The proposed mitigation site at Broadmarsh Coastal Park, a former land-fill site, does indeed have grassland but of a completely different type to the wet grassland at Campdown. If it was suitable the birds would already use it but there aren’t any records of them doing so. Furthermore, a heavily used recreational area, is not an area that is likely to be attractive to wildfowl and waders.

Broadmarsh Coastal Park is owned by Havant Borough Council and the proposal is to fence off 1.3 hectares to give the waders and geese a sense of security. Due to the uncertainty of success around the creation of replacement habitat, experts in the field of shorebird conservation apply a ratio of 2:1 as being a necessary requirement, therefore this small area is inadequate in size and quality for the loss of 31 hectares at Campdown.  

The suggested idea of creating scrapes on top of a land-fill site (which has presumably been capped with clay) seems bizarre and would be unlikely to be used for feeding by geese or curlew and would therefore not actually provide any mitigation for the loss of grassland feeding for those two species.

We are used to seeing flocks of 200 and more Brent geese feeding on our playing fields at high tide, they seem quite tolerant of us so long as we keep our dogs on their leads however the same can’t be said of our over-wintering curlew.  Curlews are a shy, unassuming family of birds. Their mottled-brown plumage makes for effective camouflage against their marshland and mudflat feeding grounds, meaning they can go about their business unnoticed, prying out invertebrates such as ragworms with their purpose-built curved bills. But if, like the curlews, you take time to dig beneath the surface, you’ll discover that they are beautiful and remarkable birds.

Our curlew, the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), is a member of the bird family Numeniini, which is a tribe of large waders that include curlews and godwits. Unfortunately, national bird monitoring schemes show breeding populations are declining sharply across much of their range. In 2008, curlews were deemed of global conservation concern and became listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN ‘Red List’ of Threatened Species. 

Steep declines have been particularly evident in the UK. Between 1995 and 2012, the breeding populations declined by 55 per cent in Scotland and 30 per cent in England. Elsewhere in the UK, the population has declined by 81 per cent in Wales (between 1993 and 2006) and by 82 per cent in Northern Ireland (between 1985-87 and 2013).

In summary, wildlife conservationists of all disciplines whole-heartedly object to this planning application. We believe it will be highly detrimental to qualifying features of the SPA. It creates further fragmentation of hugely important wildlife habitats. SPAs are among THE most important wildlife habitats we have. They and their all-important qualifying features need as much support and protection as possible and this must include adjacent linked or associated sites and buffer strips. Protect Campdown and refuse this application. The closing date for comments has been extended to 13 February 2020.

See below for Persimmon’s Masterplan Layout. Most of the boundary trees and hedges would remain but the Layout shows all the rest within the site would be cleared for development; hedgerows that have defined these field boundaries for 200 years.”

View the full planning application here